Friday, October 28, 2005

Other Friday tidbits

  • The city of Philadelphia (or at least the press) continues to anxiously await the handling of property tax reassessments. City Council just finished the second of three planned hearings on the matter, but won't really be in a position to act until the reassessments come in and they can see the magnitude of the valuation change (as well as look at specific cases that might need adjustment).
    One of the ideas floated as a way to help homeowners, particularly elderly and low-income residents, who might face tax increases was to establish a buffer system that would base taxes on an average of perhaps three years' worth of assessments rather than on one year's assessment.

    Another idea was to seek state approval to offer property owners a homestead exemption such as that in Florida, which does not tax residents on the first $25,000 of their property's value if they live in the home.

    Other ideas included capping tax increases in any given year, and taxing buildings less and land more to reduce the tax burden on homeowners and discourage speculators.
    Should get real interesting, once those tweaks get underway -- time for the watchdogs to get their oversight systems in place as well! One can only imagine the abuse potential... Daily News columnist Elmer Smith also derides the contention that this isn't a means to a back-door tax-hike.

  • Meanwhile, over in Harrisburg, the governor and the legislature appear to be at war over the issue of clean-air standards. Apparently the Rendell folks wanted to increase PA's automobile-emmissions standards to a level closer to the strict ones of California (joining a few other states, including New York), but House lawmakers have fast-tracked legislation to block such a move. Always most concerned with our welfare, those guys. I have to say that this is the first I'd heard of this issue, however, which makes me wonder how much this is really a Rendell priority rather than just something he wants to hold over the GOP's heads next fall.


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