Archive: April, 2009
Now this is some good news. Check out this press release from Project H.O.M.E.:
Most Influential” Honor Presents an Opportunity to “Finish the Job of Ending Homelessness”
The administration today questioned another City Council budget proposal to deal with the $1.4 billion budget gap. This week Council suggested that the city extend the temporary sales tax hike proposed by Mayor Nutter from three to five years and borrow against the against the anticipated proceeds in the later years to help the city balance it’s budget in the early years.
Council’s plan suggested borrowing $200 million to cover expenses in the upcoming fiscal year. Members said this idea had more support than Mayor Nutter's proposed two-year temporary hike to the property tax.
Finance Director Rob Dubow this afternoon sent Council members a letter saying that borrowing to pay city operating expenses could raise red flags with financial rating agencies.
“It does provide some short term relief, but rating agencies have made it clear that if you start to borrow for operating costs, there are problems with your fiscal management,” Dubow said.
It looks like City Council’s suggestion that the city consider raising the wage tax to manage a $1.4 billion five year budget hole might be dead.
Several weeks ago, Council asked Finance Director Rob Dubow to confirm whether the city’s tax receipts had fallen by more than 2 percent. Because the city receives state gaming dollars for wage tax reduction, the casino law sets conditions for the city to raise the wage tax. One condition is that tax collections must drop by more than 2 percent.
But Dubow this morning sent a letter to City Council, reporting that tax revenues had dropped by 1.94 percent from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2009.
City Councilwoman Janie Blackwell today introduced a resolution calling for hearings into the swine flu pandemic. Blackwell says she has been hearing from panicked constituents about the illness.
"I've had people calling my office asking me what we're going to do, what's happening in our city, what the rules, especially people who are otherwise sick or handicapped," said Blackwell, who said she'd like to hold the hearings as soon as possible.
Following the release of "actual value" property tax assessments from the Board of Revision of Taxes to City Council and the Mayor, Councilman Frank DiCicco today plans to introduce legislation that he says could ease the the impact of new tax bills on residents.
DiCicco said he wanted to "begin a discussion on addressing what we anticipate could be a significant increase."
There are two measures DiCicco wants the city to look at. One is taxing residents based on a five-year average of their tax bills, which would theoretically ease people into their new tax rates. The other would be to base property taxes on a "floating tax rate" -- meaning the city would determine how much revenue they need from property taxes and set rates accordingly.
The mother of Danieal Kelly -- the 14-year-old girl who was found starved to death in 2006 -- pleaded guilty yesterday and was sentenced to 20-40 years in prison.
Two workers for city-affiliated agencies are charged with corruption.
The city is set to get an upgrade to the police radio system.
Mayor Nutter is scheduled to today sign into law a citywide ban on using cellphones while driving. According to Nutter's schedule, the signing will take place at 4 p.m. in Eakins Oval.
City Council unanimously approved the legislation two weeks ago. But lawmakers in the state House of Representatives have approved a bill that would financially penalize the city for enacting a local ban. The house measure calls for stripping the city of its portion of the gas tax and money set aside to build and maintain bridges and highways. if the city enacts a cell phone ban.
Sure Sen. Arlen Specter wants to join the Democrats now, but will his last campaign come back to haunt him? Check out this ad from 2004 which features former President George W. Bush and former Sen. Rick Santorum