Thursday, September 3, 2015

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

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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.

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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