On May 23rd, Gwen Snyder, the Executive Director of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, testified at City Hall for the City Council Committee on Finance in support of bill 130123. This bill provides standards for tax exemptions for nonprofits by requiring land-owning nonprofits to annually file a statement to the Office of Property Assessment. If the nonprofit were not using its land charitably, then it would have to pay property taxes. This bill aligns with the ideology of Good Neighbors Philadelphia, a campaign launched by Jobs with Justice and eights other organizations. This campaign calls on Mayor Nutter to require mega-nonprofits to pay taxes on land used for non-charitable purposes, like vacant land and profit generating ventures such as hotels or rental space. Currently, organizations’ tax-exempt status is based on decades old applications. These kinds of accountability measures are already the norm in the non-profit sector. Private foundations almost universally require nonprofits to show how grant money is being used to further charitable work. Our city’s schools and essential services have suffered over the last few years and forcing uncharitable mega-nonprofits to pay taxes will generate millions of dollars for these necessary services. The Committee on Finance received Gwen’s testimony quite well. Bill 130123 will be introduced for a vote. To read Gwen’s testimony, click here.
Councilman Green, Councilmen Goode, and Councilwoman Reynolds Brown sponsored bill 130123. This bill amends Section 2-305 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled ‘Office of Property Assessment’. Click here to read the bill.