Philadelphia City Council did something Thursday that it’s done a lot in recent years: voted to increase both taxes and education funding. Lawmakers expect to raise an extra $70 million for the city’s schools by hiking the property, parking and use-and-occupancy levies.
So, where does that leave the school district? Somewhat better off than it was before, no doubt. But it’s not out of the woods yet, either. Its future depends on the answers to these five big questions, which we should learn in the coming weeks: Read more »
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Airbnb is about to get a lot less laissez-faire in Philadelphia.
City Council passed a bill, 15-0, Thursday, which is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Michael Nutter, that will force anyone who rents out their home on Airbnb or similar websites to pay Philly’s 8.5 percent hotel tax. That’s just the first new rule that will go into effect under the legislation: Hosts who rent out their homes for more than 90 days will have to get a rental license, and no one will able to rent out their homes for more than 180 days annually.
Currently, many people who use Airbnb in Philadelphia are technically part of the city’s black market, since short-term rentals are not permitted in residential areas. This new bill will legalize the industry. Read more »
Photo | Shutterstock.com
1. A new report digs into Philadelphia’s extremely high maternal mortality rate.
The gist: The city’s maternal mortality rate is 27.4 per 100,000 births, according to a new study by the Department of Public Health. “The surprising findings for many people was that so many of these tragic deaths were related to social-economic status,” perinatologist Jason Baxter told NewsWorks. Other causes include domestic violence, drug addiction, mental health issues and chronic disease. Read more »
1. Stu Bykofsky’s 25th Candidates’ Comedy Night will be the last.
The gist: For the past two-and-a-half decades, Daily News reporter Stu Bykofsky has convinced city, state and federal candidates to get up on stage and tell jokes for a good cause. (Well, try to tell jokes, at least. With the exception of state Sen. Daylin Leach, few politicians are actually funny.) All of the proceeds from Bykofsky’s Candidates’ Comedy Night go to Variety, a children’s charity. But Bykofsky says that this year’s comedy night on August 11th will be the final act. Bykofsky explained why he is wrapping up the event in an article today: “Let’s start with the truism that all good things must come to an end. It is an immutable fact I cannot do it forever, and 25 years is a mark often used in retirements.” Read more »
Bill Greenlee | Photo via City Council’s Flickr
[Updated at 1:10 p.m.]
Philadelphia City Council introduced legislation Thursday to hike three taxes in order to help fund the school district.
Though lawmakers have been pooh-poohing Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to increase education finding with a big ol’ 9 percent property tax hike for months, this is the first major step they’ve taken to advance an alternative plan.
Councilman Bill Greenlee proposed raising the parking tax from 20 percent to 22.5 percent.
“I’m putting this in as one of the options to look at,” he said. “We’re not making any firm decisions on anything yet.”
Council members also sponsored legislation Thursday to increase the property tax from 1.34 percent to almost 1.4 percent, and to boost the use-and-occupancy tax from 1.13 percent to 1.21 percent. Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
[Updated at 4:20 p.m.]
Philadelphia school district officials are asking City Council to pay a huge bill this year. They say they need an extra $103 million, even after lawmakers have voted to increase funding by $376 million over the last four years.
At budget hearings this spring, Council members have scoffed at Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to foot the bill by raising property taxes by 9 percent.
Now, an alternative plan by Council is beginning to take shape. And, after a dark-money group created by parking magnates backed Council candidates who ran against incumbent legislators, it might include a parking tax increase. Read more »
The Pennsylvania House on Monday unanimously rejected Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed tax plan, 193-0. Read more »
Photo by James Losey, Creative Commons License
Study after study and politician after politician have said that Philadelphia’s taxes are way too high. But a new report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence shows that there is at least one exception to that rule.
It found that Philly has among the lowest taxes in the country for small-scale commercial and industrial properties.
Read more »
Doug Oliver | Photo by Jeff Fusco.
The U.S. Census reports that there are more than 100,000 small businesses within the city limits of Philadelphia. And that number’s probably understated because there are likely many SOHO (small office home office) and part-time independent contractors not considered. Plus there’s been economic growth since the data was accumulated.
Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
Philadelphians are head over heels in love with Center City.
More than 87 percent of downtown residents and workers believe Center City is headed in the right direction, whereas only 62 percent think that is the case for the entire city, according to a poll of 2,700 people by the Center City District.
Their optimism is well-founded. The CCD’s annual report, which the nonprofit released Monday, is full of good news:
Read more »