Archive: May, 2011
Mayor Nutter has gotten numerous accolades over the years for performances of his signature jam, "Rapper's Delight." But today, during a very boring government meeting, we learned that he's not the only City Hall official with rapping skills.
City Solicitor Shelley Smith gave a rousing rendition of Will Smith's "Getting Jiggy Wit It," during a lull in this morning's meeting of the mayor's administrative board. Strong backing was provided by her Chief of Staff Jen Burns.
Maybe it's time for an administration version of American Idol?
We wrote yesterday about a letter Mayor Nutter's Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister sent to Council members, saying that the city could not afford to shift existing tax revenue to the schools.
In case you'd like to read the arguments in full, here's a copy of the letter.
We just got a copy of a letter that State Sen. Vincent Hughes and State Sen. Shirley Kitchen sent to Mayor Nutter and Council President Anna Verna yesterday, asking the city to provide more suppport for schools.
"Restoring additional state dollars for the district will be difficult given the budget challenges we face in Harrisburg," the letter states. "Additional support from the city would send a positive message to Governor Corbett and the Republican leadership in the House and Senate about our commitment to our children and will without question strengthen our had in budget discussions."
The schools face a $629 million funding gap for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and have asked the city to provide up to $110 million in additional funding. Nutter has said the city can't afford to shift exisiting tax revenues to the district, which seems to leave a tax hike as the only option to generate the cash. But so far Council has shown little appetite for raising taxes a second year in a row.
Where Council stands on the prospect of raising taxes to help fund schools.
Does Mayor Nutter preach tax hike in West Philly?
Council Council sue the state for more funds?
If you want front row seats, here are the details. Council had originally said the hearings would be the week of June 6. But now they've put a definite timeline in place.
DROP HEARING SCHEDULED
PHILADELPHIA, PA – City Council President Anna C. Verna today announced that a public hearing on the City DROP Program has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers, Room 400, City Hall.
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.
As the School District faces a $629 million funding gap, Councilman Darrell Clarke is today planning on introducing a resolution in Council seeking to sue Governor Corbett to provide more funding for Philadelphia schools.
Clarke's resolution notes that education cuts across the state disproportionately impact poor school districts and calls the cuts to the Philly schools "truly onerous." He asks the law department to represent City Council in a suit against the governor and wants to retain outside counsel to do so if the law department declines.
Council could give the resolution final passage at next week's session.