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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 28, 2019 04:15 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Blighted Property Tax Revitalization Initiative
I am reintroducing House Bill 758 of last session, legislation that encourages mixed-use redevelopment of blighted properties.

This legislation, known as the Tax Exemption and Mixed-Use Incentive Program Act, provides local taxing authorities with the option to designate deteriorated areas within their communities and offer an incentive (tax abatement) to developers and property owners who are approved to rebuild or improve the blighted property. Creating an incentive for redeveloping blighted properties and transforming them into mixed-use spaces is a benefit for both developers and those living in depreciating communities.

Under the bill, properties must fulfill specific requirements, such as being a “blighted property,” correcting all code violations, conforming to zoning requirements and increasing the property value by at least twenty-five percent. It also specifies that properties already receiving certain types of other tax exemptions or reductions may not be eligible for the tax abatement or the full tax abatement under this bill.

A local tax authority may, by ordinance or resolution, exempt from real property taxation the assessed valuation of improvements to a blighted property and the assessed valuation of new construction. It doesn’t apply to the base taxes of the blighted property. The incentive program is broken down into yearly increments of tax abatements. Once the ten year mark is hit, the property is assessed and taxed for its full value including increased property value. To ensure that future purchasers are prepared to pay the full tax rate once the ten years is up, developers must submit a “good-faith” estimate when they apply to improve a property. This will make consumers aware of what they will be paying in future years, all the while allowing developers to estimate and organize their own expenses for improvements.

The local taxing authority must hold at least one public hearing for the purpose of determining the boundaries of the deteriorated area or areas. If a deteriorated area is zoned for mixed-use housing and development, developers must improve and rebuild properties that align with mixed-use zoning.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation which gives local government officials another tool in helping to revitalize abandoned and blighted properties in their communities.

Introduced as SB352