Ideas for the online revolution.

Philadelphia Property Tax: Biased Against the Poor

The City of Philadelphia Controller's Office just released a report that trashes the city's efforts to accurately re-assess the value of its property.

The AVI's values are widely inaccurate and three times worse than industry standards for accuracy.

Vegan Fake Meat Reviews

Here are some of my favorite vegan fake meats. Not in order.

1. Tofurky Italian Sausage.
While their fake turkey product gets very mixed reviews, their fake sausage is amazing! Trader Joes sells Italian Sausage for $2.99.

I pan fry it. It is great for summer grilling! It goes well by itself or in pasta. There are several other varieties that are carried by Whole Foods and other stores.

2. Field Roast Sausages

Philadelphia AVI Property Tax Analyzer

I've written a web application that lets you analyze the impact of various Philadelphia property tax rates. You can choose the rate, a homestead exemption, and select a number of property value categories. You can analyze residential and other property types (commercial, industrial, stores with dwellings, etc).

It shows who gains/loses from property tax reform by property value as well as the overall shift of taxation from commercial to residential (and to stores with dwellings).

QS1R: Software Defined Radio for Shortwave Radio - A Review

I recently got back into shortwave radio after staying away due to the horrible urban RFI situation. I previously used a Drake R8 original. That was a great radio, but having a software defined radio is a vastly different experience.


Philadelphia Property Tax - How to Help Renters

Mayor Nutter's proposal would cost over a hundred thousand households that rent in Philadelphia $50-$200/year.

How can these households be helped?

1. A Lower Property Tax Rate
If the city stops transferring part of the overall tax burden from commercial and industrial properties to residential, then the rate would be lower. However, if we want to reduce the tax rate enough for people renting houses that are worth around $80,000 - then we actually need to not only stop this transfer but reverse it. We probably need to get the rate down to 1%.

Philadelphia Property Tax - Industrial Analysis

Industrial properties are the fourth largest segment of the Philadelphia property market. Industrial properties have the lowest valuation increase, probably due to deindustrialization. There may be lower demand for industrial properties as people aren't starting new industrial businesses and converting them into residential or commercial properties is a big job.

Philadelphia Property Tax - Multi Family Properties

The third most important part of Philadelphia property is the multi-family category. So far I haven't seen much analysis of this segment.

Three Options
-Nutter's proposal - 1.32 rate
-Kenney's proposal - 1.2 rate
-My proposal - 1.45 rate with a $30,000 property exemption (though I'm not sure if this a good idea for multi family - I might want to limit it to residential and commercial properties).

Unit Exemption - An Even Better Option

Philadelphia Property Tax Reform - Commercial Properties

The new valuations for commercial properties will generally cause their taxes to decrease.

This analysis is only looking at the regular property tax rate paid by commercial property. I am not looking at the Use and Occupancy tax as Nutter has not made a proposal on this that I know of. If the Use and Occupancy tax is not decreased it will lead to a dramatic increase in tax on commercial property as the U&O tax is set at 5.51% (four times the proposed 1.32% rate). My guess is that the U&O tax will be decreased to make it roughly revenue neutral - perhaps between 0.5% and 1%.

Philadelphia Property Tax Reform - A Progressive Alternative

Note: this is a work in progress. I'm adding data as I find it.

Philadelphia has not revised its property valuations for a very long time. As a result, on average the properties are valued at a third or fourth of their market price. Some properties are valued and taxed at a tenth of the market price.

Recently Philadelphia revalued its properties and is planning to impose this tax reform in 2014.

Mayor Michael Nutter is proposing a 1.32% tax rate with a $15,000 homeowner exemption. The exemption would exclude the first $15,000 of property value from taxation.

Easy Recipe for Sourdough Bread using a Bread Machine

I've been making a lot of sourdough bread using a machine. Here is my simple recipe.

First you need to get a bread machine. I think the main advantage of getting a fancy one would be so you could customize the times for each action (rise time, wait time, etc). I get along fine with my Sunbeam machine.

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