Still Time for "Gentrification Relief"

By Dan Stamm
|  Friday, Nov 29, 2013  |  Updated 1:57 PM EDT
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Still Time for "Gentrification Relief"

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Lawmakers were busy around Thanksgiving ensuring that back property taxes are paid and that seniors are protected to stay in their homes.

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On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed House Bill 388 that give cities like Philadelphia the ability to more effectively collect delinquent taxes. According to a press release from City Council President Darrell Clarke, this action could help raise an extra $30 million a year for Philly.

As the city is enabled to better collect back taxes, Clarke hailed the efforts of Philadelphia lawmakers in the State House for passing so-called “Gentrification Relief.”

Corbett also signed House Bill 390 on Wednesday.

“This relief program is an important step toward full tax fairness in Philadelphia,” said bill sponsor Rep. Mike O’Brien (D-Phila.) said.

The “Gentrification Relief” program opens the door for the city to extend its own legislation geared at protecting seniors and low-income people from losing their homes as property taxes go up in the coming years.

Merriam-Webster defines Gentrification as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.”

The goal of these measures is to make sure longtime residents can remain in their homes even if the neighborhood has improved, according to officials.

“I would like to thank the entire Philadelphia Delegation for shepherding the Gentrification Relief bill through the legislative process in Harrisburg and Gov. Corbett for signing it into law,” Clarke said Friday. “I urge qualifying Philadelphia homeowners to take advantage of this program and to contact their Council representatives and the Office of Property Assessment for more information.”

Clarke already introduced a measure in Council that would extend relief applications from Jan. 15 to Feb. 17 and he said he expects the measure to pass.

Contact the city OPA to see if you qualify for relief.

 


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