Philly Votes to Sell Tax Liens for School Money

Philadelphia City Council has approved a bill to sell off tax liens to generate cash for the city and public schools. The city has a hard time collecting overdue taxes.

Councilman Bill Green says selling outstanding tax liens could be very profitable for the city and school district at a time when both need the money.

He says it also would show people the city means business in collecting outstanding taxes.

"For example we collect 87-88 percent on an annual basis of what is owed on real estate taxes," Green said. "Places where they have lien sales, like Camden, Trenton economies that are far worse off than ours, have a 97-98 percent collection rate, taking us that 10 points is meaningful to the city treasury and to the schools on an annual basis."

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell opposes the plan.

"Liens are very dangerous issues, and if you are not sure that you protect everybody, that you can people can lose their properties and not be able to sustain themselves," she said.

Councilman Green replies there are protections built into his bill, making it a priority to go after absentee landlords and giving more time to people who live at the address with the back tax bill.

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