Tax deadbeats give $60M during amnesty program

For a city beset with budget problems, Mayor Michael Nutter reported yesterday that the city collected more than $60 million — double its original projection — from a tax amnesty program that ended last month.

Roughly $20 million will go to the School District of Philadelphia and $40 million to the city. That amount will not stave off previously announced budget cuts, however, because $30 million has already been factored into the current budget and the economy forced lower tax revenue projections, Nutter said.

“We need to be very, very clear. This is not like we just walked outside and found $10 million on the street,” Nutter said.

And, he said, for those who didn’t take the carrot, now comes the stick.

The city will pass on some scofflaw’s cases to the district attorney’s office to prosecute and will seek to revoke business privilege licenses for business owners who owe back taxes. It will place more properties up for sheriff’s sale each month to encourage deadbeats to pay up.

Revenue Commissioner Keith Richardson said his department and the city’s law department will coordinate the effort.

“It’s not like we can go out to and do 10,000 businesses,” Richardson said. “This is going to be more methodical, more synchronized. There may be a day when we [close] 20 businesses.”

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