As mayor, I will promote a property-tax system that treats people fairly, is predictable, and is easy to understand. Currently, the city's property-relief program is available only to certain low-income residents. There is no program to ensure that all low- and middle-income residents can afford to stay in their neighborhoods and benefit from the increased value of their home equity.

My "Better Housing Now" plan protects Philadelphians from the pressures of rising property taxes while preserving the benefits of rising property values. As mayor, I will work with City Council to implement two-part reform of our property-tax system.

First, I will propose and work to enact a homestead exemption that will exclude a portion of assessed value from taxation for all property owners.

Second, I will propose and work with City Council to enact a cap and deferral plan for paying property taxes that will protect property owners from unreasonably large and rapid increases in their taxes. Under my plan, no property owner would ever face an increase in his property tax of more than 10 percent in a single year. Property owners who qualify on the basis of low and/or fixed incomes would have lower caps, including zero increases on very low-income owners who can not afford any increase.

In all cases, the amount of tax owed by the property owner above the capped amount would be deferred until the sale of the property.

This two-part reform will allow people to participate in the great appreciation in property values under way in many Philadelphia neighborhoods, while preserving peoples' option to stay for as long as they want.

Philadelphia is in the middle of an enormous wealth-creation cycle, and the biggest beneficiaries are longtime residents who have held on during decades of decline. Now that the value of Philadelphia real estate is increasing again, I want to make sure all Philadelphians benefit.