Councilman Al Taubenberger recently introduced an amendment to the controversial 10-Year Property Tax Abatement. Some Council colleagues want to keep it. Others want to reduce the years or eliminate it altogether. The debate will drag on for months. Meanwhile, Al uncovered a loophole in the abatement that’s costing Philadelphia millions annually in uncollected fees and taxes. The only current disqualifying factor for receiving an abatement is being delinquent on property taxes. The law says nothing about disqualifying developers who knowingly cheat the city out of taxes and other revenue. Philadelphia is a hot market for developers. Many willfully ignore construction permits and licenses, misclassify workers as “1099 Independent Contractors” to avoid payroll taxes, and pay workers in cash to avoid other tax implications. These illegal practices cheat the city out of tax revenue and are tantamount to being tax delinquent. And they should disqualify developers from being rewarded for gaming the system. If you’re an unlicensed contractor in Philadelphia, forget about the tax abatement. With so many budget needs for vital city programs and services, Philadelphia can’t continue to lose millions of dollars owed by developers.