Dear God, they’re back from the dead.
We were really hoping that we’d heard the last of the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT). In a city government notorious for corruption and incompetence, the BRT somehow managed to stand out for excessive and hyperbolic corruption and incompetence.
Mayor Nutter finally had enough and took over the BRT last fall after the Inquirer documented case after case of flawed assessment, cronyism and chronic mismanagement. Nutter installed reformer Richard Negrin to head the board and start what was expected to be a two-year process to correct the catastrophically defective and inequitable rating of property values in the city.
Now, we’re back to Square One. Yesterday, the BRT let lapse the “memorandum of understanding” that gave Nutter control. Against the wishes of the Mayor’s Office, Council and every other public official called to comment on the debacle, the BRT chiefs are back in power. That means Negrin is out, the reassessment process is stalled and the very same people who got us into this mess will once again be in charge of deciding how much your house should be worth.
“You know, it also doesn’t feel too good to be held up as everything that’s wrong with Philadelphia,” the BRT told PW writer Jacob Lambert while in the process of nearly doubling his property taxes.
Don’t blame us. If the board didn’t embody everything that’s wrong with Philadelphia, we wouldn’t have to point it out.
Seriously. This is a huge 'fuck you' to Nutter and to every taxpayer in Philadelphia. We get a chance to respond in kind May 18 on a ballot measure to abolish the BRT forever. See you at the polls.
And did we mention that your property taxes might be going up 12 percent?
Nutter's controversial soda and trash tax proposals are getting wiped out by the perfect storm of protests and City Council.
With the soda and garbage taxes too controversial, Council has resorted to new, slightly more progressive taxes to balance the budget. Not surprisingly, there are still problems.
Apparently, a Pew report finds, that we citizens hate dirty streets and trash more than we hate our corrupt city officials, our high taxes, our poor educational system and our jobless rate.
A number of investigative and watchdog bodies actually operate inside city government. Each office has its limitations, however, leaving oversight on certain areas of government thin to nonexistent. Specifically, City Council manages to largely escape scrutiny.
If only this website had been available years ago; we wouldn’t be in this property-values mess. Maybe this can also set straight the Parking Authority, City Council, Charter School administrators, etc. etc. ad nauseum.
The BRT is a patronage-packed office (the part-time workers make $70,000 a year) that has not been able to justify, in any logical manner, their wildly inaccurate property assessments.
Charlesretta Meade insists that the BRT’s problems stem from homeowners blocking reassessment in order to keep certain properties artificially undervalued.
At a time when Nutter’s support was stagnant, his milquetoast image hardening, the board offered itself up as an easily condemnable villain.