State Senators Tina Tartaglione and Vincent Hughes today tried to rally support for legislation to increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania from $7.25 to $9 per hour by 2015.
The Philadelphia Democrats insisted the proposal, introduced in April, was not dead-on-arrival in a Republican controlled General Assembly that flatly rejected a similar effort two years ago.
Tartaglione cited legislation she successfully pushed in 2006, which raised the minimum wage in the state to $7.15 in 2007. "Little by little, we were able to change the mindset of folks," Tartaglione said.
It pays to save energy.
Philadelphia Gas Works and Mayor Nutter announced today a new EnergySense Rebates program which helps customers correct energy waste and receive money for doing so.
Under the new program, customers will get assistance in conducting a home assessment to identify energy waste which could improve living conditions and may address concerns related to mold, mildew, pest infestations, carbon monoxide and structural damage.
City Councilman Jim Kenney has an idea on how the city could raise money for school supplies: lease city-owned luxury sports boxes.
Kenney said the city's boxes at Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center, generally referred to as the "Mayor's Box," could be leased for up to $30,000 for an Eagles game and $3,000 for Phillies, Flyers and 76ers games. That money, Kenney said could help raise money for the Philadelphia Educational Supplies Fund Mayor Nutter launched last week. He delivered a letter to the Mayor today.
"While it's not a solution for our overall school funding crisis, based on conservative estimates, we could generate more than $1 million a year for this school supply fund," Kenney said. "We're talking big money here."
Sean Collins Walsh
The state-appointed board that oversees Philly’s finances unanimously approved Mayor Nutter’s five-year plan today, despite calls to reject the plan from the city controller and the board's own staff.
Members of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, or PICA, spent an hour questioning the administration about low fund balances in the out years of the plan and about unresolved labor disputes. But in the end, they voted 5-0 to approve the plan.
PICA Chairman Sam Katz said earlier this year that he would vote against the plan if Nutter did not resolve disputes with the city’s major unions, three of which have been working without contracts since 2009.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz called on Philly's fiscal watchdog to reject Mayor Nutter's five-year plan because city coffers are projected to reach dangerous lows in future years.
The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) will meet tomorrow to vote on the plan. But, Butkovitz is concerned about the city's steadily declining fund balance which is projected to reach $8.5 million by 2017.
"Any significant deviation because of unforeseen circumstances such as litigations, severe weather or future unexpected commitments to the School District of Philadelphia could drastically impact city operations," Butkovitz said, adding the assumptions are not reasonable.
City Councilman Jim Kenney wants Philadelphia to sever ties with its Russian "sister city" which has enacted a ban on "homosexual propaganda."
Nizhny Novgorod, Philly's "sister city" for over 20 years was one of the first in Russia to enact the ban.
Kenney sent a letter to Mayor Nutter Wednesday urging him to end the relationship.
Days after schools opened on Monday, Mayor Nutter joined with school officials announced the Philadelphia Education Supplies Fund today, a new fund raising effort to help in the purchase classroom supplies.
"Insufficient school supplies should not be the reason our children miss out on valuable opportunities," Nutter said.
Nutter challenged the business community and others to raise $500,000 for the fund by Oct. 15. and $2.5 million over the next five years. The city will contribute $200,000 this year and $1 million over five years.
Sean Collins Walsh
After an unprecedented four-year legal battle with the city's firefighters union, Mayor Nutter has raised the white flag.
His administration on Friday withdrew his appeal of an arbitration award that the city had long contended it could not afford.
"The city's financial condition has improved," Nutter said. "We can now pay the cost of this award."