David L. Cohen Calls Doomsday Budget 'Unthinkable'

Comcast executive David L. Cohen, who serves as board chairman for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, called Mayor Nutter's doomsday budget plan "unthinkable" today after an early morning pow-wow between Nutter and the city's business leaders.

"I think this is almost unthinkable what the impact would be on the business community. The business community, we’re all about generating jobs and growing the economy and growing the tax base. And who wants to move to a city with no recreation infrastructure and no free library system, with twice a month trash collection," Cohen said.

Cohen, who also served as chief of staff to Gov. Rendell during his time as mayor, said that he and other business leaders would be reaching out to legislators in Harrisburg to urge them to approve Nutter's two budget requests.

"No one has said to me that the city’s ask is unreasonable, that it’s ridiculous, that it’s not founded in public policy," Cohen said. "Nobody in Harrisburg wants to see the city of Philadelphia lay off 3,000 people, lose a thousand police officers, 200 firefighters."

Nutter wants state lawmakers to approve a temporary 1-cent increase to the city sales tax and changes to how the city pays into the pension fund. Without those approvals, the city will have a $700 million hole to fill over the next five years.

Yesterday, Nutter held a rally in City Hall to push Harrisburg for action, saying that without their help, the city would be forced to implement a contingency budget, which would lay off up to 3,000 workers, shut down libraries and recreation centers and reduce trash pick-up to twice a month.