Mayor Nutter turned today to his campaign e-mail list to drum up support for two measures -- a 1-cent sales tax increase for Philadelphia and pension plan changes -- needed to avoid laying off 3,000 city employees. An e-mail sent out this afternoon asks supporters to urge state senators to move on legislation to make that happen. The e-mail contained links to Nutter's campaign web site, where a form-letter is ready to be sent to senators with a click of a button. You can read Nutter's email after the jump.
I need your help today to encourage the Pennsylvania State Senate to take action now on House Bill 1828, legislation that will help our city fund vital services and will ensure that our city will not have to make massive, drastic budget cuts beginning next week. All Philadelphia State Senators support this legislation.
As a result of the global financial crisis and the ongoing recession, our city faced a potentially huge budget shortfall, which would have led to difficult choices between drastically cutting city services and significantly increasing tax revenues. To preserve vital services, including police and fire, City Council and I agreed on a budget that relies on new revenue from a temporary one percentage point increase in Philadelphia's sales tax, as well as changes in our pension system. These two important legislative measures, contained in HB 1828 represent $700 million in our five-year plan, but do not cost the Commonwealth any money.
However, to implement these extremely important changes, they must first be approved by the PA General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Rendell. The good news is the PA House of Representatives last week approved legislation that would enable us to enact these measures.
Now the legislation is awaiting approval by the State Senate, but the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) has directed that these measures must be approved by August 15th or the city will have to submit a new five-year plan that would include severe, painful cuts to every city department, including the Police, Fire, Health and Recreation Departments.
That PICA August 15th deadline is why I urgently need your help today. If you agree that we must prevent massive service cuts that would be disastrous for our city and region, please contact your State Senator today, tell them that you support House Bill 1828 and encourage them to take action now and pass this bill.
We are not blaming Harrisburg for our budget crisis, nor are we asking to be bailed out by state government - this fiscal crisis was caused by the global recession and HB 1828 doesn't cost the Commonwealth a dime. We are only asking for the legislative tools we need to balance our budget while preserving vital city services. To do that we need action now from the State Senate on HB 1828. We cannot afford to wait any longer because of our fiscal crisis and the potential negative impact on city services.
After you email your Senator, please forward this email to all of your friends, relatives and co-workers in Pennsylvania and ask them to contact their State Senator too. This issue is crucial to Philadelphia and the region's present and future, and we all need to make our voices heard today.
Thank you so much for everything you do for Philadelphia.
Mayor of Philadelphia