Alleged: Butkovitz Spent Taxpayers’ Money to Score Political Points
On Wednesday, City Controller Alan Butkovitz’s office released a study that concluded “the actual value initiative (AVI) did not improve accuracy, uniformity and fairness.” The full study (a real page-turner), which cost the taxpayers $27,000 (according to Philly.com), was done by Carnegie-Mellon Economics Professor Robert Strauss. It is 47 pages long and has lots of colored graphs and charts.
An editorial in yesterday’s Daily News was highly critical of the controller’s report, citing noted economist Kevin Gillin:
[Gillen] says that although he respects the economist who did the controller’s report, the data used for the report was biased, incomplete, dated and contained many nonmarket transactions. Further, Gillen points out that the report violates widely accepted industry guidelines by using sales prices rather than net rental income to determine the assessment accuracy of commercial properties.
Property asked Brett Mandel, who’s challenging Butkovitz in the city primary on May 21, what he thought of the study. “This is a terrific example of government waste,” he said. “The taxpayers paid to give Alan Butkovitz a headline.”
Butkovitz did not return a call for comment.