Mayor opposes Councilman's effort to lower city's parking tax

UPDATED to relect vote results.

Mayor Nutter today sent a letter to City Council, urging them to not to give final passage to legislation from Councilman Jim Kenney that would gradually lower the city's 20 percent parking tax.

But Council ignored his wishes and voted 12-5 in favor of the bill, with Council members Bill Green, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Brian O'Neill, Blondell Reynolds Brown and Darrell Clarke opposing.

The city raised the rate from 15 percent to 20 percent in 2008. Kenney's legislation would gradually bring the rate down to 17 percent, with the reductions starting in the 2014 fiscal year. Kenney argued that the parking industry had been unfairly targeted.

"I think the parking tax is extremely high," Kenney said. "They raised it five percent in one shot."

But Mayor Nutter said the proposal would cost the city millions and said he would rather see broad tax reductions that benefit all businesses, rather than just one industry.

"I don't know why the parking industry is so special that they should be getting reductions in their rates now," said Nutter, who would not say whether he would veto the bill.

Robert Zuritsky, president of the Philadelphia Parking Association, which represents over 200 parking operations, said the parking industry had been unfairly hit in the first place.

"It's an incredible burden," Zuritsky said.