Nutter Puts Pressure on Council To Pass Soda Tax

Mayor Nutter this morning sent a letter to Council saying that if they don't pass a soda tax or increase the temporary property tax hike, that he will have to eliminate more than 300 city jobs.

"We have tried hard to avoid making cuts that would have any further impact on service, but without additional revenue, we will have little choice," Nutter said in the letter, which says he will have to cut $20 million and lists police and fire amog the departments that would be affected.

Council members questioned Nutter's reasoning, noting that the budget they have tentatively passed so far -- which includes a 9.9 percent property tax hike -- will include surplus funds of $42 million.

"To turn around and say he's going to lay off 340 people seems to be a bit punative when he didn't get a soda tax," said Councilman Jim Kenney.

Council has been meeting behind closed doors this morning on the budget. At times there have been more than 9 members behind closed doors -- in an apparant violation of the state Sunshine Act -- and staffers have refused to answer questions.

Nutter has been pushing for a soda tax of 3/4 cent per ounce, which would raise about $30 million annually, but just $14 million in the coming budget year.