On Monday, Philadelphia Controller Alan Butkovitz directed the city treasurer to begin withholding pay from city employees who owe $2.6 million in back taxes as part of a tax collection initiative. The move is expected to affect 239 city employees and to eliminate the employees' tax delinquencies in less than one year.

In a letter to the treasurer, Butkovitz directed the city to start withholding a percentage of pay from city employees beginning with the pay period starting on Jan. 11. Butkovitz first advised delinquent city employees of the pending withholding on Oct. 1, 2009, and employees were given 30 days to pay their back taxes or enter into a payment agreement. "We provided city employees with ample opportunity to resolve their tax delinquencies before resorting to withholding their pay," Butkovitz said. "Our initial outreach resulted in hundreds of employees paying their past due taxes. Now we must resort to withholding a percentage of some employees' salaries to force compliance."

Under Pennsylvania law, the city controller has the authority to withhold up to 20 percent of a city employees' income. Read Butkovitz's letter to the City Treasurer's Office.

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