Legislation to give Council the option to reject inaccurate property assessments that lead to higher property taxes.

Sponsors: Councilmember Oh, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Johnson

Proposing an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide
accountability to City Council for real property assessment increases; and providing for
the submission of the proposed amendment to the electors of Philadelphia.
WHEREAS, The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter requires that the annual operating
budget be balanced; and
WHEREAS, The Real Estate Tax is a major source of revenue for the City of
Philadelphia; and
WHEREAS, Real Estate Tax revenue can be increased either through a City Council
approved increase in the tax rate or through an increase in real property assessments; and
WHEREAS, The 2019 assessments resulted in the median market value of single-family
homes increasing from 2018 by 10.5 percent from $112,800 to $124,600; while 48 of
Philadelphia’s 57 neighborhoods saw increases, with the “North Philadelphia/West”
neighborhood — containing Brewerytown and Strawberry Mansion — rising the most,
increasing 47.1 percent between 2018 and 2019; and
WHEREAS, The 2019 real property assessments amount to a big Real Estate Tax
revenue increase without a Real Estate Tax rate increase—essentially a “backdoor” tax
increase; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania State Law mandates that real property assessments be based
on the “actual value thereof” to accomplish “equalization with other similar properties
within the taxing district” considering three methods: cost of reproduction or

replacement; comparable sales; and income; approaches considered in conjunction with
one another; and
WHEREAS, Real property assessments should result in increases or decreases in actual
value as warranted by the real estate market, independent of the need to balance the
annual operating budget; and
WHEREAS, Under Section 6 of the First Class City Home Rule Act (53 P.S. §13106), an
amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter may be proposed by a resolution of
the Council of the City of Philadelphia adopted with the concurrence of two-thirds of its
elected members; now, therefore