Mayor Nutter just told reporters that the city's legislators in Harrisburg have “rallied around the city” and its need for a temporary sales tax increase and pension changes.
Nutter and City Council just wrapped up a meeting with the Philadelphia Harrisburg delegation in which Nutter campaigned for why the city needs authorization for a temporary increase in the city sales tax and some changes on how the city will pay into the pension fund.
Without state authorization for those items, the city will have a $700 million gap to fill over the next five years. And Nutter said the impact would be horrifying. Nutter said that he provided details to the legislators of the cuts the city would have to make if the budget measures were not improved. Nutter said that thousands of of city employees could be laid off, hundreds in the police and fire departments.
“We do not want to have a devastating cut in services,” Nutter said.
Several legislators promised to move fast on the city requests. State Rep. Dwight Evans said he planned to bring the legislation which includes both items, up for a committee-level vote on Wednesday. And state Sen. Shirley Kitchen said she would introduce corresponding legislation in the state senate as soon as possible.
“I believe the momentum is there,” Evans said. “I believe the mayor has done a very good job of educating people on why this is necessary.”
With the state locked in a budget impasse for almost a month, the city has stopped paying most bills to reserve cash until the state budget is resolved.