Mayor Michael Nutter proposed a budget Thursday that would total $3.95 billion, expand the use of police body cameras, most likely eliminate the need for a tuition hike next year at the Community College of Philadelphia, and increase spending on the city’s long-underfunded Licenses & Inspections department.
But all eyes went to only one part of his plan: a 9.3 percent increase in property taxes. Nutter wants to use that to give $105 million to the city’s cash-strapped schools.
This morning, Mayor Nutter delivered his annual budget address—the last one during his tenure as Mayor of Philadelphia.
Before he got started, he took a moment to recognize Gloria Casarez, the City’s first director of LGBT affairs, who lost her life last fall after a long battle with cancer, and a handful of other female government employees who lost their lives in the last year.
Mayor Nutter at the 2014 LGBT History Celebration at City Hall, Casarez looks on. | Photo by Bryan Buttler
Before we begin, I’d like to have a moment of silence to recognize three tremendous public servants who we lost over the last year: Gloria Casarez, the first Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, Joan Markman, our first Chief Integrity Officer, and Lieutenant Joyce Craig, the first female firefighter to die in the line of duty.
These three extraordinary women were exemplary public servants, consummate professionals and dedicated leaders. Let their lives and their service act as a continual reminder to all of us to do our own jobs better and let us keep them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
For more specifics on the Mayor’s budget address, head to our News blog.
Nutter is going to propose this morning a 9.3 percent increase in the property tax rate to provide an infusion of cash to the city’s financially troubled schools. The Philadelphia School District is facing an $80 million budget deficit in 2015-16, and has asked the city for an extra $103 million.
Details of Mayor Nutter’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2016-17 began to come out today.
Total expected revenues are expected to be $3.85 billion while total expected expenditures are $3.95 billion, which is a 2.3 percent increase from last year. The overview document that was presented to City Council noted that the city “is implementing a new budgeting system which will replace the more than 2,000 Excel spreadsheets that the city currently uses for its budget.” Bad news for Microsoft, but you know there are dozens, if not hundreds, of workers in City Hall right now who are crying tears of joy. ($29.4 million is budgeted for the Office of Innovation and Technology, so maybe next year they’ll move up from WordPerfect, too.)
Anyway. The big question is: What would Nutter have the city spend these billions on, and why? Let’s break it down: Read more »
Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his first budget plan for Pennsylvania Tuesday, and it’s nothing if not ambitious.
What got a little lost in the coverage of Wolf’s budget address, though, is that he is also proposing big changes for Philadelphia’s local taxes. The Wolf administration says his budget would provide about $538 million in tax relief for the city, which would be funded by his planned hike on statewide personal income and sales taxes. Here are the specifics, via Wolf spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan, which he says would all go into effect in 2016-17:
During the interview, I found Oliver to be energetic and honest and passionate about the city. But he was also stunningly vague at times, and perhaps more surprisingly, unapologetic about his lack of specific proposals to fix the city’s problems. Toward the end of the Q&A, I told Oliver I thought the mayor’s race in general has suffered from a dearth of ideas. (You can watch the full exchange above.)
As a candidate who has pitched himself as someone with “fresh eyes,” I asked him what his big idea is for the city. He doubled down on being vague.
Staring down a deadline to deliver his own 2016 budget request to City Council, Mayor Nutter is weighing a request from the Philadelphia School District for $103 million in new funds, KYW reports.
Because of that request, Nutter says his budget proposal remains unsettled: “What we’re trying to figure out right now is how to properly and in a sustainable fashion respond to the $103 million request. What would it be, what form would it come in, and do we in fact include that in the budget that gets submitted.”
Nutter is resolute that the requests need to be settled quickly: “The Governor’s budget address is on Tuesday, the 3rd. My budget address is on Thursday, the 5th. So all of this to some extent will be happening in real-time. We’re at a point where we need to address the budgetary request from the School District as early on as possible (and) identify those resources. We will collectively try to figure out how to do that. But there’s no question that the need is great.”
Today’s the day the Philadelphia School Reform Commission must decide the fate of 39 applications to create new charter schools.
It’s not an easy decision, at least politically: Republican leaders in the state legislature want the SRC to give a thumbs-up many of the applications. Gov. Tom Wolf is reportedly pushing for the SRC to approve none of them. And the nonprofit Philadelphia School Partnership has offered $35 million to the school district if the SRC signs off on enough charters to enroll 15,000 students.