12/03/2012 - ''Just when we had finally managed to avoid thinking about the giant headache of overhauling the city's property-tax system, Pew's Philadelphia Initiative issued a report last week that dragged us back to reality.
As you may recall, City Council and the Nutter administration spent months earlier this year not passing Actual Value Initiative. AVI would reassess every property in the city and start taxing that property at its full value. Council debated the issue as much as it could in the absence of the actual reassessment numbers, which the Nutter administration had promised and then didn't deliver on. So on the brink of a fix that has been in the making for at least a decade, AVI was tabled.
The Pew report is an attempt to study the challenges the city faces in making this long-overdue reform. We hope the fact that these are now laid out in black and white doesn't give city leaders a new case of cold feet on completing AVI. The report points out that few cities have actually done massive reassessments of all properties and changed the way those properties are taxed at the same time.
The report does raise two flags that are worth examining further. One is the difficulty created by the uniformity clause - that clause in the state Constitution that mandates that 'all taxes be uniform, upon the same class of subjects.' The clause prohibits the city from treating residential, industrial and commercial property differently when it comes to establishing tax rates.''
Read the full article, DN Editorial: REASSESSING IT, on the Philadelphia Daily News website.