The Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations‘ (PACDC) Mayoral Forum on Equitable Development, held last night at Temple University, saw candidates agreeing on some general ideas, such as reforming the Actual Value Initiative, tweaking the 10 year tax abatement and building more affordable housing.
The forum, which had its share of tense moments, demonstrated how the candidates would approach these goals very differently. All the candidates were present, with the exception of Milton Street.
Here are some of the policy ideas that came through the bluster:
Judge Nelson Diaz said that any high rise with 25 or more units should have some kind of inclusionary zoning requirement.
Melissa Murray Bailey, the sole Republican candidate, argued for making the 10 year abatement contingent on a development making at least 10 percent of its units affordable.
Lynne Abraham said she wants to create some of kind of process that would help community development corporations (CDCs) be more nimble and competitive, in terms of housing development, in areas where market rate development is on the uptick. She also proposed a 20 year tax abatement housing in low-income neighborhoods.
Jim Kenney said the city should actively support CDCs and help launch them in neighborhoods that don’t currently have them. He also said he would apply more pressure to commercial banks to invest in low-income neighborhoods.
State Senator Tony Williams said the city should enforce the Neighborhood Advisory Committee program, which funds community-based nonprofits that help keep residents informed, particularly about city programs that could benefit them.
Williams and Diaz both supported the idea of creating a municipal bank to help fund affordable housing. Abraham called the idea “dangerous” and bristled at the prospect of Philadelphia getting into the banking business.
Ex-mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver highlighted the CDC Tax Credit, which was recently expanded, as a tool to create more affordable housing. He also said there should be some kind of local hiring requirement for building projects — another idea that Abraham rejected on the grounds that it would stifle development.
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On the anti-speculation tax proposed by Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, Bailey and Abraham outright said they did not support it. Kenney, Williams and Oliver expressed an interest but also some skepticism.
Photo via PACDC-30-
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