Morning Headlines: City Is Giving a Pass to Its Worst Tax Deadbeat

You might say it's giving it a transpass.
Photo | Ben Schumin.

Photo | Ben Schumin.

When you think of people who owe property taxes, you imagine an out-of-town landlord who doesn’t care that his blighted building is falling apart. You don’t tend to think of a major public agency that owes millions of dollars, but that’s the story here: SEPTA owes the city almost $22 million. Given that much of the city’s property taxes go to the schools, and given that the city is ready to sell its soul to fund the schools, it’s a bit of a surprise to learn it’s giving SEPTA a pass on that hefty bill.

It doesn’t seem as though the city necessarily wanted this to become public. Here’s how philly.com’s Sam Wood puts it:

A new 30-year agreement between the transit agency and city goes into effect on July 1 and it absolves SEPTA of the requirement to make good on the delinquency, which came to light in data collected by an economist at Penn’s Fels Institute of Government. Philly.com recently obtained the data.

And here’s the least persuasive answer to the question of why SEPTA hasn’t paid its taxes–an answer that sounds like something a kid would say when asked why he didn’t turn in his homework:

Asked last week why SEPTA had never paid the tax bill, Gerald Maier, SEPTA’s real estate director, responded: “I thought we didn’t have to.”

The rest of the article is depressingly shocking. It’s a must-read.

One of Philly’s worst tax deadbeats, SEPTA, to have $22M bill wiped from books [philly.com]

Here’s more of the news so far…
Philadelphia Convention & VIsitors Bureau leases space at 1601 Market [PHL Biz Journal]
Skyscraper game of Tetris breaks world record [AP via philly.com]
Someone Bought a Building With Loads of History on Norris Street [Naked Philly]
National Trust Releases its 27th Annual List of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places [Planetizen]