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Comcast to Pa.: Give Us a Break

6/09/2004 6:25 AM Eastern

Comcast Corp. is one state Senate bill away from walking through the doors of One Pennsylvania Plaza.

The MSO is seeking a tax break on the less than $1 million it currently pays in state and city business taxes, in exchange for moving its headquarters several blocks into what would be Philadelphia's tallest skyscraper, AP reported.

But several downtown building owners are balking, saying that the new building -- complete with tax breaks for tenants -- would lure away their corporate tenants and create a glut of vacant office space in Philadelphia, according to AP.

In fact, several building owners protested the tax-break proposal last Thursday night by turning off all of the lights in downtown Philadelphia buildings except for safety-marker lights.

Comcast said the 60-story building would create up to 4,000 jobs within the next decade, resulting in the addition of tens of millions of dollars to city and state coffers each year from increased income-tax revenue.

The Comcast tax breaks would come under a designation called “Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zones,” which the governor can create by executive order, according to AP. Municipalities, counties and school districts that collect taxes from the areas then have to decide if they want to forgo those taxes for 15 years in order to encourage development.

Should the district lose revenue due to the proposed deal, Comcast would be "prepared to make additional financial contributions," in addition to the money it already gives to the school district, executive vice president David L. Cohen said.

The MSO added that it would be reluctant to expand its corporate operations in Pennsylvania without the tax breaks, AP said.

September