piazza at schmidts sj

Economic recovery or gentrification?

The City of Philadelphia’s 10-year tax abatement on new construction has led to the gentrification of our most vulnerable communities.

By giving huge breaks to those who build or refurbish housing, the tax abatement has increased property values in some of our poorest neighborhoods. Along the way, it has pushed out poor tenants through higher rents, and forced out impoverished homeowners through higher property taxes. And because 55 percent of Philadelphia property taxes go to schools, the tax abatement has also denied much-needed funding to a financially strapped School District filled with children of color.

To put it bluntly, I believe the tax abatement has unfairly benefited well-heeled, largely white investors and developers, while pushing people of color out of their neighborhoods. That’s why I was befuddled when newly elected City Councilman Allan Domb proposed extending the tax abatement from 10 to 20 years for properties under $250,000.

Click here to read on Philly.com

Photo: Piazza at Schmidt’s in the gentrified area now known as Northern Liberties. By  Justin Wolfe / Flickr Creative Commons


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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.

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