Philadelphia district lost millions in revenue to tax abatements

December 4, 2018

Tax abatements and other tax breaks cost the School District of Philadelphia $62 million in 2017, according to a study that analyzed new abatement disclosure data from 5,600 U.S. school districts. Philadelphia had lost the second highest amount of revenue.

Tax abatements and other tax breaks cost the School District of Philadelphia $62 million in 2017, according to a study released Monday.

Good Jobs First, a think tank, analyzed new abatement disclosure data from 5,600 school districts throughout the country and found that Philadelphia had lost the second highest amount of revenue. At the top of the list was the Hillsboro School District in the western suburbs of Portland, Ore., which lost $97 million in potential revenue to tax breaks last year.

Lee Whack, spokesman for the Philadelphia schools, said it is not possible to gauge the net impact of the incentives. “Do tax breaks result in increased activity with benefits that outweigh the value of those tax breaks?” he said. “The study doesn’t answer that question.”