On Wednesday, January 9th, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article with the headline “City tax board holds off on full-value assessment.”  The article reported:

Members of the city's Board of Revision of Taxes yesterday said they wouldn't implement the proposed full-value assessment system until the City Council and state legislature acted to protect property owners from devastating tax increases. "We can't do it - it's a whole group of things that need to be done," said board member Alan K. Silberstein. Silberstein and other members said they were awaiting state legislation that would allow Philadelphia to enact special homestead exemptions, and for City Council to enact other protections to shield homeowners from extreme increases in their property assessments and tax bills.

But, the article noted that one voice was heard taking the contrary view. 

Among those arguing their appeals yesterday was Brett Mandel, executive director of the tax-reform organization Philadelphia Forward. He told board members they were compelled by law to provide fair and accurate assessments. "The Board of Revision of Taxes has one job - to get the valuation right," Mandel said.

Just six months later, a July 18th Philadelphia Daily News headline read, “Tax board going ahead with reassessment.”

What changed?  Philadelphia Forward pushed for change!  Our educational outreach campaign expanded public awareness about unfairness in Philadelphia real estate taxation and underscored the need for change.  Articles, editorials, and opinions flooded local and citywide media making real estate tax unfairness the topic of popular public debate.  Then, the hammer of the threat of our real estate tax lawsuit encouraged action.

This incredible about-face is the latest, and perhaps Philadelphia Forward’s most impressive demonstration that the power of a good idea combined with public engagement can move Philadelphia in a positive direction.  While we must still monitor actual implementation and be mindful not to “count our chickens before they hatch,” this effort must rank as one of Philadelphia Forward’s most impressive victories.

Thank you to all those who helped fund and wage our educational-outreach and legal efforts!