Now Council’s Considering a Property Tax Hike to Pay for Pre-K

Lawmakers continue to look for alternatives to Mayor Kenney's proposed soda tax.
Photo by Jared

Councilwoman Cindy Bass. | Photo by Jared Piper/Philadelphia City Council

Councilwoman Cindy Bass said on Tuesday that her office is working on a bill that would raise the property tax rate in Philadelphia, as City Council continues to weigh alternatives to Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed soda tax. Bass declined to discuss details of the legislation.

If Council passed such a bill, it would be the fifth real estate tax increase since 2011.

Council members have debated a number of substitutes for Kenney’s plan to create a three-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in order to fund expanded pre-K, community schools, and an overhaul of parks and recreation centers. Last month, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced legislation that would impose a 15-cent tax on beverage containers. And just last week, Council President Darrell Clarke circulated a memo to lawmakers that laid out several alternate ways to fund Kenney’s initiatives, such as a lower sugary drinks tax that includes diet sodas.

Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. said recently that he would not support a higher property tax, while Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Clarke have said they would consider it.

A City Council committee could hold a vote on the soda and container tax proposals as soon as Wednesday.

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.

Follow @JaredBrey and @HollyOtterbein on Twitter.