Thursday, October 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

City Council finalizes budget plan

City Council just finalized a budget plan today that would delay Mayor Nutter's property-tax overhaul for a year and raise $40 million for schools.

City Council finalizes budget plan

City Council just finalized a budget plan today that would delay Mayor Nutter’s property-tax overhaul for a year and raise $40 million for schools.

Council gave the final OK to provide the school district with $20 million through a small property-tax hike. Members voted 12-4 with Council members Jannie Blackwell, Bill Green, Dennis O’Brien and Brian O’Neill voting against it. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez was absent. Another $20 million will come from a business tax increase known as the use-and-occupancy tax. The latter was approved last week despite strong opposition from the business community.

The money raised from the property-tax increase will go into an accountability grant and is contingent on the school district meeting some of the requirements of an accountability agreement crafted by Council.

Nutter wanted to shift to a property-tax system based on market values, known as the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), collecting $94 million for schools along the way. But Council was uneasy about making a decision before the assessments were complete.

The administration warned that a ruling by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) could cost the city and the school district more than $100 million in appeals if AVI isn't implemented. At issue is the accuracy of the property assessments currently being used to calculate the city's tax bills.

State legislation sponsored by Rep. John Taylor that would exempt Philadelphia from the STEB ruling was approved by the House and is currently before the Senate.

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
 Follow Chris on Twitter

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
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

PhillyClout Team
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected