Vol. I No. 94
Keeping You Posted With The Politics Of Philadelphia
November 4, 2010
State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop (D-W. Phila.), third from right, and members of the Lancaster Avenue Retail and Commercial corridor recently broke ground for a retail and commercial center at 5901-09 Lancaster Avenue. Many businesses and neighborhood leaders including Tony Lewis, cofounder and chairman of LARC, and Delano Shane, executive director of LARC, joined her in ceremony. â€œLancaster Avenue is coming up,â€? Bishop said. Project is funded in part by a State Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant and by City of Philadelphia. LARC was created to revitalize Overbrook Farms-area shopping corridor and to build housing. 4 NOVEMBER, 2010
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
Fattah Calls On US House To Disavow Clinton Impeachment
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ongressman Chaka Fattah (D-Phila.) unveiled a Resolution today for the House of Representatives to disavow the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
ber 1998 in the lame-duck session of the 105th Congress. Fattah said this establishes the precedent for disavowing those articles in the similar session of the 111th Congress.
“As we enter a period in which bipartisanship will be a major priority for the Congress, it is vital that we disavow the most highly partisan example of the politics of personal destruction in the recent history of this House,” Fattah said.
Fattah said, “In the spirit of bipartisan cooperation we must come together, Republicans and Democrats, to undo this blemish and restore the reputation of the House.”
Fattah will introduce the Resolution “disavowing the partisan impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton” on Nov. 15, the day the House reconvenes for its final session of the 111th Congress. The Resolution will cite the fact that impeachment articles were taken up and acted upon in Decem-
The Resolution cites the historical record of the impeachment and concludes, “Resolved, That the House disavows the articles of impeachment filed against President William Jefferson Clinton given the irresponsible and inappropriately partisan manner in which the House discharged its constitutional duties.”
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4 NOVEMBER, 2010
NYC Loans Its Housing Head To PHA he Philadelphia Housing Authority has tapped public-housing veteran Michael P. Kelly as interim executive director. Kelly comes to PHA with over 25 years of public housing experience, including nearly a decade as executive director of the Washington, DC Housing Authority. Most recently he was the General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority. He is taking leave from that position to serve in the interim PHA post.
person to lead PHA into its new era,” said PHA Board Chairman John F. Street. “PHA and the residents of public housing will both benefit from his strong leadership and housing knowledge. I look forward to working with him.”
“Michael Kelly’s proven track record of handling day-to day operations for the nation’s largest housing authority makes him the perfect
“My expectation is that should a contract be negotiated and approved by the PHA Board, Michael Kelly will be able to reestablish the
4 NOVEMBER, 2010
Kelly was responsible for 178,000 residential units, overseeing 11,000 employees and managing a budget of $3.4 billion dollars in federal, state and local assistance in New York.
THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
faith and trust we all want to have in PHA. He is more than qualified to serve as interim executive director at PHA,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. The head of the New York City Housing Authority said his agency is flattered that HUD asked to borrow one of its top officials to help out in Philadelphia. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also signed off on the arrangement, saying that when the Federal government has called on New York City to assist other cities, he stands ready to comply.
Oct. 29Cabaret Masquerade Fundraiser for Ivy Staten at Laborers’ Local 332, 1310 Wallace St., 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets $20 ($25 at door), Supporters $100, Friends $500, Underwriters $2,500. Oct. 30Town Mtg. for Jobs at CCP’s Bonnell Hall, BG-10, 17th St. between Spring Garden and Callowhill Sts., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Political and civic leaders to attend. Nov. 2Today’s your day to vote. Not sure of your polling place location? Check this copy of the Public Record closely for your polling place. Nov. 3Points of Transformation Awards, sponsored by Phila. Mental Retardation Services, at Great Hall of Community College Winnett Student Life Ctr., 10 a.m.-12 m. For info Judy Kresloff at (215) 685-5293. Nov. 6Testimonial to alto saxophonist Sam Reed at Phila. Clef Club Main Floor, 7 p.m. Tickets $15. For info (215) 339-1974. Nov. 8Asian American Fundraiser for David Oh at Saigon Maxim Restaurant, 636 Washington Ave., 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets $50. 4|
Mayor Appoints RDA Director, Shifts Gillen ayor Michael A. Nutter has appointed Ed Covington as executive director of the Redevelopment Authority and the appointment of Terry Gillen as director of Federal legislation in the Mayor’s Office.
“I would like to thank Terry for her hard work and incredible dedication to the restructuring of the RDA. Today, the RDA is a more efficient and high-performing agency, and it administers programs that have become national models. The RDA plays an invaluable role in economic development and continues to bring jobs, affordable housing and other improvements to our city,” said Mayor Nutter. “I expect Ed will build upon this legacy and continue the culture of excellence at the RDA. His experiences at Wachovia give him an unique perspective, and his leadership will usher the RDA into a new era.” THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
In her new role, Gillen will be responsible for managing the Administration’s relationships to the Federal government and the US Congress. Her salary will be $155,000, which is subject to a 5% reduction. “During my tenure at the RDA, we have successfully moved forward with housing projects and neighborhood development – despite a national recession. We have rehabbed homes that were foreclosed, using federal stimulus funds, and moved on important transit-oriented projects across the City. I look forward to my new challenge working as the City of Philadelphia’s primary liaison to the Federal government,” said Gillen. Covington formerly served as senior VP of Wells Fargo/ Wachovia. His salary will be $175,000. 4 NOVEMBER, 2010
Green, Sánchez Launch Website To Tout BPT Reform n advance of a public hearing on their Business Privilege Tax reform legislation, City Council members Bill Green and Maria Quiñones Sánchez have launched a website to provide the public with information about the bill, including an easy online tool for businesses to calculate the impact of the proposal on their BPT liability. The website address is http://www.forwardphiladelphia.c om.
“During our meetings over the past year with countless business-owners, as well as with accountants representing thousands of local businesses and local Chambers of Commerce, it was immensely helpful to walk through the numbers with people and show them the impact of the legislation on their tax burden,” Green noted. “The feedback we’ve received on the bill has been overwhelmingly positive,” “While we continue to meet with businesses, this website allows folks to analyze the impact of the change,” Sanchez explained. The BPT reform legislation, which 4 NOVEMBER, 2010
was co-sponsored by 15 members of City Council, would:
Reduce the net income tax from 6.45% to 0% and increase the gross receipts tax to 0.5% (one half of 1%) over a five-year period, while maintaining the projected BPT revenue level of $350M per year;
implement a new fresh food tax credit to help address the problem of “fresh food deserts” and help ensure access to healthy food in all Philadelphia neighborhoods by easing the tax burden on fresh-food retailers.
charge no gross-receipts tax on the first $100,000 of receipts earned by a business – by full implementation, over 50,000 of the 84,000 businesses that file BPT returns would have $0 BPT liability based on this change;
“We look forward to the hearing on the bill and, as ever, remain open to making amendments to the legislation based on feedback from constituents,” Green said.
modify the alternative rates already available to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to create a more viable “escape valve” for these typically low-margin busi-
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$227 Million In Electronic Transfer Receipts Missing, Says Controller ity Controller Alan Butkovitz released yesterday the FY2008-09 Dept. of Records Audit that found a failure to confirm the electronic transfer of more than $164 million in real-estate transfer taxes collected from title companies during this two-year period.
Currently, 60% of all real-estate transfer-tax payments are received electronically by the City – compared to less than one percent in 2005. Since the electronic transfer of real-estate transfer taxes first began in 2005, the Dept. of Records has not had a mechanism or procedure in place to confirm all electronic payments were actually received by the City. Without any concrete evidence to prove it, the City has 6|
assumed more than $227 million in real estate transfer taxes have been transferred to its General Fund in fiscal years 2005 through 2009. “The potential impact of this control weakness will increase over time, as a larger portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax is paid electronically,” said Butkovitz. “Electronic payments allow for quicker receipt of funds and usually provide for better control and easier oversight if a mechanism is in place to verify the amount and receipt of the transferred funds. Such is not the case currently with the Dept. of Records. They have no ability to confirm the receipt of any funds that are transferred electronically.” When a real-estate sale takes place, the title company transfers the THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
amount owed the City for transfer taxes from its bank account to the City’s bank account. Any money owed the State is electronically deposited to a separate dedicated account, making it readily identifiable. The City’s money is deposited to a consolidated general account used for numerous revenue sources. “There are no electronic or manual procedures in place to address whether the bank credited the City’s account for the amounts deposited by the title company,” said Butkovitz. “Comparing City and title-company records is an inadequate control given the substantial amount of money that is electronically transferred and the likelihood that the amount is to increase significantly in the near future.”
4 NOVEMBER, 2010
Rent, Property Rebates Open o help with the rising cost of living, the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is still accepting applications. New guidelines will permit individuals that qualify to receive a rebate between $250 and $650 from property taxes or rent paid last year. Funding for this rebate program is made possible from the Pennsylvania State Lottery Fund.
Applicants should note no lien or judgment is placed against 4 NOVEMBER, 2010
their property, nor will this rebate ever have to be repaid. To qualify, you must be a senior citizen 65 years of age or older, a widow or widower 50 years of age or older, or a disabled person 18 years or older. Homeowners that have annual incomes of $35,000 or less and renters with annual incomes of $15,000 or less could qualify. The good news is only half of your annual Social Security or SSI income is counted toward the income THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY RECORD
guideline. This application must be filed by Dec. 31, 2010. For more information or an application call â€œUnited Social Servicesâ€? Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (215) 923-1900. All inquiries are confidential and services are provided free of charge.
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