Basically the choice here is between a plan to fund schools with a highly regressive tax, and a plan to fund schools with developer money and more growth.
Should Philadelphia residents pay higher taxes on their purchases than they would if the sales tax expired as planned? Or should the city buy some empty school buildings that the district was looking to unload anyway, and then flip them to developers who want to build new homes or offices or whatever?
In the Nutter/Corbett plan, Philadelphia consumers are the ultimate payers. In the Darrell Clarke plan, developers are the ultimate payers. Clarke’s plan is clearly the more progressive one.
I hear Michael Nutter’s point about how maybe city won’t get as much money for the properties as Clarke thinks, but I think that just means they need to sell some more properties.
As I’ve been saying, it’s not like all the city-owned properties are worthless land in North Philly. They own some properties in growing neighborhoods that people actually want to build new housing in. Those parcels may be owned by different authorities, but why wouldn’t Clarke’s same two-step plan work there too? First you buy them from the authorities, then you sell them to the developers.
I’d be especially enthusiastic about the city buying up municipal surface parking lots from the Philadelphia Parking Authority and auctioning those off to developers. In my new neighborhood in Bella Vista, there’s a hideous municipal surface lot at the very nice corner of Fitzwater and S. 7th. I’m sure somebody would love to build a mixed-use building here if it wasn’t wasted on this parking lot. Maybe Darrell Clarke can buy that from PPA and auction it off to get some more money for the school district.