Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

PhillyClout Budget LiveBlog

Mayor Nutter is set to start his budget address in just a few minutes. Keep refreshing the page for our liveblog of the addresss. Here's our breakdown on the key items in the budget.

PhillyClout Budget LiveBlog

Mayor Nutter is set to start his budget address in just a few minutes. Keep refreshing the page for our liveblog of the addresss. Here's our breakdown on the key items in the budget.

11:51 -- And we just got what was essentially a counterpoint speech from Councilman Bill Green, a frequent critic of the mayor's policies. After saying Council and the mayor must work together, Green said the city was not moving towards change fast enough and called for changes to the tax structure and shifting to a paperless government. "

"We are standing on a burning platform and no one is sounding the alarm," Green said. "We must reverse course or get on a different track."

11:46 -- That's a wrap. What do PhillyClout readers think about what the mayor had to say?

11:45 -- He’s winding down…city is “fighting our way back,” “getting things done.” And Nutter concludes with: “Philly we’re on the rise. Let’s get to work.”

11:44 -- The only real applause line of the speech with a reference to Cliff Lee chosing the Phillies over the Yankees.

11:44 -- Says Philly is on the rise. A new slogan?

11:43 -- Says city must stick together with “Philadelphia spirit” through hard times.

11:41 -- Talks about visiting the Myers Recreation Center “These are my kids. These are my rec centers. This is my city. I care.” Seems very emotional.

11:37 -- Says city is stronger than it was three years ago. Says this is a time for strength and hope.

11:36 -- “We’re going to stand up and fight for the budget that I introduce today.”

11:35 -- And now duh, dun, duuuuun….the Triple Threat. Nutter notes the deficit in the School District and potential cuts in the state and federal budgets. Many think today’s budget will need major revisions once Gov. Corbett announces his plans. Nutter says he doesn’t know what they will do.

11:33 -- Nutter pledges to get new contracts for District Council 33 and 47, whose contracts expired July 1 2009. Says he wants permanent health care and pension changes. We’ll see…

11:30 -- And the ever-controversial DROP retirement perk. Nutter uses the DROP cost from Council’s study -- $100 million. Then says: “It’s time for it to go.”

11:30 -- From good to bad….now the pension fund, which is still less than 50 percent funded.

11:29 -- Nutter just spoke about a new program Philly Rising, that is featured in today’s Daily News. He calls it a “new model for neighborhood service delivery.’

11:25 -- Nutter is back to the libraries again, citing his childhood branch in Cobbs Creek as part of a list of community resources that were important to him. Now he's talking about programs to improve public health and provide job training.

11:24 -- Says receovery must include economic help to minority, female and disabled business owners.

11:22 -- Ok, he’s referencing the ongoing debate over how to cut business taxes. Nutter pledges to work with Council – Council members Bill Green and Maria Quinones-Sanchez put forth a controversial tax proposal this year – to have a “revamped” BPT by the end of the budget process. That should be interesting.

11:21 -- Nutter’s hitting a major campaign theme – job creation, talking about businesses that are growing in philly.

11:19 -- Lists some of the spending in this budget -- funds for a new class of police officers, a literacy program and for the property assessment system.

11:17 -- "The people of Philadelphia have given enough," says Nutter, promising no new tax increases. Says he'll continue to chase tax delinquents.

11:16 -- A historical recap on the budget cuts over the past three years.

And now Nutter wants credit for not laying off cops and not closing libraries. Not doing layoffs he can be credited for. But Nutter tried to close 11 libraries in 2008 and was blocked after several Council members took him to court – so that wasn’t exactly his decision alone.

11:15 -- "Have we been perfect? No. Have we made mistakes? Yes."

11:14 -- Now he’s listing achievements, says city is safer – although check this DN story for more details on the rising homicide rate – smarter and greener. "

11:13 -- After saying he respects everyone's right to express themselves, Nutter continues. Calls Philly a great global city.

11:12 -- Yelling from members of the AIDS advocacy group ACT UP has stalled the speech. Verna just asked that the protesters be removed from Council chambers.

11:11 -- The messaging begins. Nutter calls this a “time of great opportunity and great threat....a time of hope and caution."

11:10 -- As Nutter was on his way up to the podium, Chris Brennan asked him if he had any last words. "It's not a death march," he laughed.

11:08 -- And he’s off, giving shout-outs to various city Council members. Former Mayor John Streed even gets a nod. Outgoing Council President Anna Verna gets a big attaboy when Nutter says one of his proudest moments as a Councilman was voting the first female Council president.

10:45 -- Chris Brennan caught up with Pete Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33, which represents the city's blue-collar workers. Matthews, who is up in Council for the speech, just suggested three reasons why the city should give DC33 what it wants; The union has had no increases in wages or health care benefits since Nutter became mayor. The union has not threatened a work stoppage or strike. And he says the union used its political power to get the state to approve the sales tax increase.

"I have said flatly; No concessions," said Matthews, who complained the union and city have had informal talks but no real negotiations.

10:40 -- Oh wow, the mayor has to sit through the public comment process.

10:33 -- If you're waiting with baited breath, it's probably worth pointing out that this is Nutter's easiest budget in several years. Starting in the fall of 2008, the city had to cut $2.4 billion out of the city's five year financial plan. To balance the budget, there have been major cuts, hiring freezes and temporary increases to the sales and property taxes. But this year, for now anyway, is less controversial.

10:31 -- It's Our Money is live tweeting the budget: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/030311_philly_budget_live_tweets.html

10:24 -- Council still doing their regular business. Nutter, who used to serve in Council, has to wait his turn...

10:05 -- Nutter hasn't kicked off yet, but some Council members note to Bob Warner that today's budget -- which has no major tax increases or cuts -- will have to be revised after Gov. Corbett releases his financial plan, which is expected to included major cuts.

"We can’t do anything until we find out what the state’s budget is going to be,” said Councilman Jim Kenney.

And Councilman Frank Rizzo called today's budget a "shell game," suggesting that Nutter wanted to put his plan out first, so that he could blame any future cuts on the governor.

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.

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