Mayor Jim Kenney wins concession from Philadelphia City Council on tax abatement reform

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia City Council has amended its tax abatement phase-down plan, after Mayor Jim Kenney threatened to veto it. With the change, the new abatement plan will not take effect until next Dec. 31.

Mayor Kenney sent a letter to Council President Darrell Clarke saying, "if Council were to pass this Bill as currently proposed I will not sign it, and it will not become law." 

Kenney said the July effective date could adversely affect developments in the works and cause a rush for building permits that the city wasn't prepared to handle.

Should he get the bill as is, he wrote, "I look forward to working with (you and the other members of) the new Council on this issue in 2020."

Faced with starting from scratch on tax abatement reform, Clarke responded that he understood Kenney's concerns and, in the spirit of compromise, Council would amend the bill. 

Just two days ago, Council had resisted calls for amendments, but the date change passed 16 to 1, with only Councilmember Helen Gym voting against it. The bill is expected to get final Council approval next week.