House gives preliminary nod to Philly tax, pension bill

Mayor Michael Nutter spent much of the day lobbying in Harrisburg, and was rewarded with results. The State House today gave preliminary approval to a bill allowing Philadelphia to increase its sales tax and defer pension payments. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

The state House today gave preliminary approval to a bill to allow Philadelphia to increase its sales tax and defer pension payments, the first step toward easing the city's fiscal crisis.

But the legislation must still receive a final vote in the House and it was not clear when that will be.

The city asked Harrisburg for a bill that would include two elements key to the budget City Council approved last month: a one-cent increase in the city sales tax and a two-year delay in payments to the city pension fund. Mayor Nutter, who is in Harrisburg today meeting with lawmakers, also asked the General Assembly to approve structural changes to the fund.

It also was not clear when the state Senate would consider the bill, or if the majority Republicans in that chamber would support the measure. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) said yesterday legislators and the governor must agree on the 2010 budget before the Senate will consider what he called "the Philadelphia bailout legislation."


Click here for's politics page.