Sunday, March 15, 2009

Philly Confronts Rich Tax Evaders

The beloved Philadelphia Eagles haven't paid their taxes and ACORN was brave enough to call 'em out.

Meanwhile, Mayor Nutter has taken a complimentary approach toward the city's tax delinquents:

Was that just another sidewalk altercation yesterday afternoon on South Broad Street, or was it Mayor Nutter trading verbal barbs with an alleged tax deadbeat?

Robert Gamburg, one of three lawyers at 121 S. Broad St. who owe the city a total of $348,000 in business privilege taxes, didn't like that Nutter chose to shame him with a news conference outside his building.

Nutter called the conference for 2 p.m. yesterday to show the measures he would take to embarrass delinquent taxpayers.

Nutter held a similar news conference in November, when he told those who owed more than $50,000 that he would be coming after them. Nutter said the city has collected $2.5 million in delinquent taxes in that effort.


After Nutter denounced the three in front of the building, sheriff's deputies proceeded to deliver notices, while television cameras rolled, notifying the lawyers that their belongings were to be sold at auction on April 2 if they fail to pay their bills.

"The city will be forced to collect our money by any means necessary," Nutter said.

Take it to 'em Mike!

Now that's real leadership!

It's difficult to even imagine such bold action on behalf of the public good here in New Orleans and that's shameful.

The racial demography in Philadelphia is not so unlike New Orleans. There, however, diverse coalitions have been able to come together around progressive change. When that happens, so does real world progress. This crackdown on wealthy tax cheats is what is allowing the city to keep neighborhood library branches operating amidst a difficult municipal budget squeeze.

I decided to remain in New Orleans after I graduated college because I know in my heart that we can do the same kind of things here, in spite of all the parochialism and mistrust.


MAD said...

Actually, post-K there has been quite a bit of progressive change in our old town: election of a new city council and school board, Levee Board reorganization, assessor and assessment reform, a new master plan and zoning code underway, city charter change giving planning the force of law, greater citizen empowerment, levee reconstruction, a charter public school system, etc. We have compressed twenty five years of change in less than four. Quite an accomplishment, I would say.

E said...

I would very seriously challenge the degree to which changes to Council and especially the school board represent what I think of as 'progressive.'

BeverlyRevelry said...

I agree "E" and there are those amongst us, including yours truly, who don't consider the charter schools, as implemented, and school vouchers "progressive" either.

E said...

MAD, I'd also dispute that 25 years worth of change into 4 line as misfit hyperbole.

Jeffrey said...

True that. I think that 2010 is going to be a big year for us--one in which we cement our ability to make genuinely progressive change in this town. We're ready for it, and once we do it, there's a lot the rest of the country will learn, too.

MAD said...

I have the long view, E, with 40 years of citizen involvement on many of these issues. Take my word for it, this is change and most of it is arguably progressive. I am not starry-eyed and would certainly agree that we have a long way to go, but I lived through the "good old days", so most of this looks like improvement to me.