As expected, Councilman Frank DiCicco today introduced legislation that would increase the city property tax rate to raise revenues -- a move many council members seem to prefer over Mayor Nutter's proposed flat-rate trash collection fee.
Nutter has proposed a $300 per household trash fee and a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to plug a projected $150 million hold in the budget. Council has raised concerns about both measures, questioning the impact the taxes would have on the city's poorest residents. Nutter has said he is prepared to listen to alternate ideas.
Under DiCicco's proposal, the property tax rate would increase by 12 percent, with all the additional proceeds coming to the city. DiCicco said the hike would raise $107 million, the same amount Nutter's trash fee would collect. DiCicco said the bill is written to last only five years, and could be revised if the city needs less revenue than expected.
"I believe it is much better than the trash fee," said DiCicco of the property tax proposal, noting that residents could write off a tax hike and many low income residents and seniors would qualify for a rebate.
Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. said he thought a property tax hike was a better idea than a trash fee, although he stressed that budget neogtiations are still ongoing.
"To whatever extent we're going to increase revenues, this is a better option," Goode said. "I think the trash fee is pretty much dead. I think the soda tax, if not dead, is in trouble."