Council passes tentative budget, without a soda tax

There's been a lot of changes since Mayor Nutter presented his budget (above) in March. He backed the need for a sugary beverage tax, but Council only approved a 9.9 percent property tax hike Thursday. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

City Council gave its approval moments ago to a budget package that includes a host of tax increases - including a 9.9 jump in property taxes and a $300 garbage fee for small businesses and mutli-unit homes - but not the by-the-ounce soda tax Mayor Nutter had lobbied so hard for.

The cash raised by Council's budget ought to be enough, just barely, to cover a deficit that Nutter has described as approaching $150 million. But without a soda tax or further cuts, the city will be left with a fund balance of just over $40 million, a meager cash reserve that could create cash flow problems throughout the year.

Nutter has another week to try and sell his soda tax - which at one point in the afternoon appeared to have majority support - but its prospects do not look good.

The budget package that cleared Council yesterday includes an additional $17 million in spending cuts which have already been widely reported, as well as a new tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco that may well be trumped by a state tax on those same products later this year.

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