Governor expected to sign bill requiring Philadelphia adopt reformed assessments
Gov. Tom Corbett was expected to sign into law on Monday a bill that will give the city some breathing room as it prepares to implement its Actual Value Initiative.
A spokesman for the governor said Corbett was expected to sign the Senate Bill 1301 Monday evening. The bill was passed by the state legislature this weekend.
It authorizes the city and school district to use 2011 assessed values on 2013 property tax bills, setting tax rates at roughly 32 percent of full value, in accordance with a ruling last year from the State Tax Equalization Board.
“We are very pleased and grateful that the Pennsylvania General Assembly has approved legislation,” said Mayor Michael Nutter on Monday, noting that without these protections, the city might have been subject to a “massive” number of property tax appeals.
He also noted that the law now forces City Council to proceed with implementation of AVI for next year.
“Senate Bill 1301 also requires by state law that the city of Philadelphia must implement AVI next year, a requirement parallel to an ordinance enacted by City Council. City taxpayers deserve the fair, accurate and understandable assessments that AVI will bring,” Nutter said.
The bill was sponsored by a number of Philadelphia area state legislators, including Sens. Anthony Williams, Shirley Kitchen, Vincent Hughes, Mike Stack, Leanna Washington, Larry Farnese and Christine Tartaglione.
Last month, Council voted to delay AVI, concerned that it did not have all of the data needed to move forward.
At the time, Nutter and other administration officials warned that the move could expose the city to appeals from residents that could cost the city as much as $100 million.
Nutter wanted Council to approve AVI this year. The move will shift the way properties are valued for tax purposes. Under the current system, properties are taxed at a fraction of their real value — roughly 32 percent of value. But last year the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) ruled that the city’s assessments were inaccurate, and set the rate at 24.8 percent of their value. That paved the way for residents to appeal and ask for the lower assessment.