Philly City Council sends budget, including property tax relief, to Mayor Kenney’s desk

During its last legislative session before summer recess, Philadelphia City Council finalized a budget agreement that offers homeowners additional property tax relief, while minutely lowering the city’s wage and business taxes. The compromise, rooted in a $5.8 billion operating budget, does not include any tax hikes.

“This budget is an investment in people.” said Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, who chairs the body’s Appropriations Committee.

Council and Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration both sought to ease the financial burden of rising property assessments. After a three-year pause, residential property values went up by an average of 31% this year. An independent analysis conducted by the City Controller’s Office found that values shot up more than 50% for nearly a quarter of all single-family parcels, of which there are approximately 450,000.

In the end, homeowners will see a dramatic increase in the value of the city’s Homestead Exemption. Under a proposal passed on Thursday, residents can apply to have $80,000 deducted from their property’s value, which could lower their property tax bill by about $1,119 each year. For years, the exemption has sat at $45,000, which has saved homeowners about $629 annually.

“We want to make sure that a senior doesn’t have to make a decision between buying prescription drugs or paying for their property taxes. We want to make sure that a young family doesn’t have to make a decision between paying for daycare services for their children or paying their property taxes. We want to make sure that even renters do not get evicted,” said Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, who had pushed to double the exemption to $90,000, the maximum permitted by state law.

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