A citywide tax amnesty moved closer to reality yesterday as City Council's Finance Committee unanimously recommended approval of an amnesty bill.

The Nutter administration estimates that it will net between $25 million and $30 million by forgiving all penalties and half of the interest on tax bills unpaid as of June 30, 2009. City Controller Alan Butkovitz says the city should realize closer to $100 million.

The amnesty would include all $1 billion delinquent city and school taxes with the exception of sales taxes. The last such amnesty was 1986.

Community Legal Services, which advocates for low-income residents, is asking that the amnesty also include unpaid water bills, not covered by the bill recommended by the committee yesterday. City Council could give final approval to the measure next Thursday. - Jeff Shields