Archive: March, 2009
11:32 -- And that's a wrap. Nutter tries to inspire at the end of the 53 minute speech. Here's the final remarks: "Nothing that’s happened in the last six months can stop us from achieving our goals. We have the future before us, full of promise, new ideas and a renewed sense of hope. Now is the time for big dreams, for bold action, for huge political courage and the will to change – change we can believe in."
The speech concludes to a mixture of standing ovation and chants of "don't tax the poor."
11:30 -- A call to service. Nutter asks the public to volunteer at libraries and recreation center.
A fight just broke out in City Council on the balcony level.
Civil affairs officers broke up the altercation which stalled Council for several minutes. Two men were taken away in custody shouting: "Jail the killer cops now. The Philadelphia police are a bunch of thugs taking away people’s rights." One man also told a cop: "You hit like a sissy man."
A police officer pushed Daily News Chris Brennan out of the way when he tried to ask the men questions.
The budget Mayor Nutter unveils today relies heavily on union contract concessions. He’s looking for $125 million in contract savings from the four city unions over the next five years, which could mean changes to health benefits, pension plans for future employees and work rules.
We spoke last night with Pete Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33, which represents blue-collar city workers. And he said he’s not giving an inch.
“We are making absolutely no concessions, absolutely none,” Matthews said. “DC33 is making no concessions. I’m not making any concessions. I went through that when they did that in ‘92.”
The mayor won't appear for over an hour, but already City Council chambers are filling up for his budget address today. Top city officials like are in place and crowds are pouring into the gallery and the balconies. Among the crowd is former Mayor John Street, who brought his Temple University students to take in the political show.
And not everyone up in Council is happy camper today. Political activists are in full force. One audience member is clutching a sign that reads: "Throw Nutter in the Gutter." Another sign says: "Nutter's budget tries to rescue the city at the expense of the black community.
10 a.m. - The city budget deficit has even worked its way into Council's invocation. Bishop Benjamin Fisher to the Greater Bethel Temple just opened Council's session with a prayer that acknowledged the worldwide economic crisis but said Philadelphia "refuses to particiapte."
How does the public feel about the looming temporary property tax hike?
Vince Fumo's sentencing is set for July 13. Meanwhile feds want to seize his assets.
Mayor Nutter is set to give his budget address to City Council today at 11 a.m. To watch him talk about the city's economic woes and plans to pull out of the mess, tune in to the city's government access channel 64.
Or you can check back here at PhillyClout where we'll be liveblogging the speech.
Mayor Nutter is taking on City Council and other elected officials on two fronts -- cars and DROP.
Nutter confirmed that he plans to tomorrow introduce legislation that would disqualify elected officials from entering the Deferred Retirement Option Program, a city program that provides workers with a lump-sum payment upon retirement.
"It appears to me that this kind of program was not designed for elected officials," Nutter said. "The primary purpose of a having program like this is proper management of general workforce."
Mayor Nutter today confirmed that he will include a temporary three-year one perecent increase to the sales tax in his budget plan -- a measure he said would help him avoid cuts to libraries, recreation centers, homeless services or health centers.
"We need to pay a little more in taxes to get us through the short term economic crisis," Nutter said during a press conference at the Marion Anderson Recreation Center at 17th and Fitzwater streets . Nutter will formally introduce his budget to City Council tomorrow.
The sales tax increase -- which would raise the local rate from 7 to 8 percent -- would require approval by the state legislature. Calling it "a penny with a purpose," Nutter said that the city would be forced to make drastic cuts if the increase isn't approved.