The political test of the year will be the Nutter administration’s move to reassess all the city’s real estate at full market value. City Council has tacitly signed off on budgets to hire all the new assessors. But will they resist the massive public outcry when new assessments go out in October and people realize what it will cost them?
The mayor’s new budget proposal may compound the difficulty because it sets real estate revenue levels that incorporate $90 million in new School District money, on top of $35 million the schools got last year, and $90 million in city taxes that were supposed to be temporary when Council passed them two years ago.
Asked last week about Council support for his plan, Nutter portrayed it simply as a matter of courage -- with a locker-room flavor.
“We’ve had straightforward and honest conversation with all the members, or briefings,” the mayor said. “…I think ultimately many of the members have come to the conclusion that as painful as it may be, as challenging as it may be, as difficult as it may be, that this is something that needs to be done. The time has come. ...Every now and then in this business, regardless of gender, you really just need to have the balls to do the right thing. Some people have them. Some people don’t. And we’ll find out in this process, who does and who doesn’t. We made a commitment to the property-owners and taxpayers of this city that once and for all, we’re gonna fix this system. The reason we’re at the point that we’re at today is because no one else has been willing to do it.”