Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Council Gives Preliminary Approval To Budget With Property Tax Hike, Stalls Soda Tax Legislation

City Council today gave preliminary approval to a temporary 9.9 percent property tax increase, but did not move Mayor Nutter's proposed soda tax legislation out of committee.

Council Gives Preliminary Approval To Budget With Property Tax Hike, Stalls Soda Tax Legislation

There´s been a lot of changes since Mayor Nutter presented his budget (above) in March. He backed the need for a sugary beverage tax, but Council only approved a 9.9 percent property tax hike Thursday. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)
There's been a lot of changes since Mayor Nutter presented his budget (above) in March. He backed the need for a sugary beverage tax, but Council only approved a 9.9 percent property tax hike Thursday. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

City Council today gave preliminary approval to a temporary 9.9 percent property tax increase, but did not move Mayor Nutter's proposed soda tax legislation out of committee.

Nutter lobbied hard for a soda tax as part of his $3.9 billion budget plan. He originally proposed a tax of 2 cents per ounce, which faced massive opposition from the soda industry, local unions and business owners – who launched a huge campaign against the proposal. More recently he was gathering votes for a 3/4 cent per ounce tax, but couldn't get to 9 votes in time today.

"We need nine votes," said Councilwoman Marian Tasco. "The mayor has a week to talk to people."

Nutter’s original budget proposal also included a $300 per-household trash fee. But council balked at the trash fee, preferring a property tax hike, which they said was less regressive. Still, many members didn’t want to do a double-digit property hike, which led to the 9.9 percent agreement, set to last for two years.

More coverage
 
Council OKs budget, not soda tax
 
Soda industry offers $10 million donation to stop tax
 
About that smokeless tobacco tax...
 
Beverage industry sweetens offer to back off tax
 
Green: Council can't act on budget bill
 
Nutter Visits Council Members Seeking Budget Deal
 
DiCicco: Soda lobby may offer more cash to kill tax idea

The tax proposal must get final approval from Council next week.

Nutter has put the budget deficit for the coming fiscal year at up to $150 million. The property tax plan yields about $88 million annually. Nutter also agreed to cut an additional $17 million. If Nutter does not get the soda tax in some form, his aides have argued that the city's surplus fund balance will dip dangerously low. But some on Council weren't so sure.

"We have a proposal without sugar [beverage tax], which gives a $40 million plus fund balance," Councilman Darrell Clarke said.

Council also approved proposals to tax some tobacco products and increase trash collection fees for commercial properties, which will enhance revenues further.
 

About this blog
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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