Tuesday, May 5, 2015

No vote on U&O bill

With an effort afoot in Harrisburg to raise a significant amount of money for the struggling Philadelphia School District, City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez opted against asking her colleagues today to vote on a bill that would increase a tax on businesses to get the schools more money.

No vote on U&O bill

Maria Quiñones Sánchez
Maria Quiñones Sánchez
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With an effort afoot in Harrisburg to raise a significant amount of money for the struggling Philadelphia School District, City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez opted against asking her colleagues today to vote on a bill that would increase a tax on businesses to get the schools more money.

"Harrisburg is very close to what would be a historic, one-time serious allocation of school resources to the city of Philadelphia," said Quinones-Sanchez. "And I do not want to jeopardize and give anyone an excuse who is not looking out for the best interest of Philadelphia, not to do what is their obligation to do which is appropriately fund the Philadelphia school district."

Quinones-Sanchez' bill would have increased the use-and-occupancy tax on businesses to raise $30 million for schools. Today was her last shot at calling the bill up for a vote since it is Council's last session. Some members were concerned about the impact her measure would have on businesses, especially since Council increased the tax last year.

Rob Wonderling, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce lauded Quinones-Sanchez for her leadership, but said there needs to be a broader discussion about long term solutions to help the school district.

"Although well-intentioned it would only address a small portion," Wonderling said. "Let's work on a comprehensive strategy."

Quinones-Sanchez was pushing her bill as an alternative to Mayor Nutter's proposals which included an increase to the liquor-by-the-drink tax and a new $2 per pack cigarette tax. Council approved the cigarette tax last week and the measure to increase the tax on booze never made it out of a Council committee. Both measures require state authorization and its unclear the city will ever be able to enact the cigarette tax which would raise $46 million.

"It's Harrisburg's turn," Quinones-Sanchez.

Meanwhile another portion of Quinones-Sanchez' proposal which gives 9,000 small businesses a $2,000 exemption was approved.

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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