Council Passes Budget, Soda Tax FIzzes Out

Council just gave final approval to a $3.9 billion budget plan with a temporary 9.9 percent property tax hike, taxes on some tobacco products and an increase in the trash fee for businesses and landlords.

Conspicuously absent from the plan was Mayor Nutter’s proposed soda tax, which Council did not act on today, despite last minute pressure from the mayor.

Council voted 11 to 5 for the property tax hike.Voting in favor were Council members Anna Verna, Marian Tasco, Darrell Clarke, Jim Kenney, Donna Reed Miller, Blondell Reynolds Brown, Bill Greenlee, Curtis Jones Jr., W. Wilson Goode Jr. Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Frank DiCicco.

Voting against were Council members Brian O'Neill, Bill Green, Jannie Blackwell, Jack Kelly and Joan Krajewski.

Nutter's original budget included a $300 per-household trash fee and a 2 cent per ounce soda tax. Council balked at both moves. Ultimately they perferred a property tax hike to the trash fee, but a majority never backed a soda tax, which Nutter reduced to 3/4 cent per ounce in recent weeks.

The budget passed today gives the mayor a surplus fund balance of $42 million, which Council says is sufficient, but Nutter argues is not enough of a cash cushion to get through the year.