Friday, December 19, 2014

Nutter Admin: City Can't Afford Millage Shift For Schools

Mayor Nutter's Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister today sent a letter to City Council members, urging them against shifting exisiting property tax revenues to the School District.

Nutter Admin: City Can't Afford Millage Shift For Schools

Mayor Nutter's Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister today sent a letter to City Council members, urging them against shifting exisiting property tax revenues to the School District.

"A millage shift would open a painfully large gap in the City's budget, requiring spending reduction that would create noticeable service impacts throughout city governement," says the letter.

Property taxes in the city are split between the city and the school district, with 45 percent of the revenue coming to the city and 55 to the district. As the schools face a $629 million funding shortfall for the budget year starting July 1, one option floated by advocates has been to shift that balance -- through a change in the split of the millage rate -- so the schools get more revenue.

But Armbrister strongly argues against that course, saying that if the city uses the property tax coffers to give the schools the $75 million to $110 million requested, then the city would have to make painful cuts like, laying off police officers, deactivating fire companies and reducing beds in shelters.

What the letter doesn't say is how the Nutter administration would like to provide funding for the schools.  But given the message, it appears that they're saying a tax increase is the only option. So far Council has shown little appetite for that idea.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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