Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Inky live blog of budget address

11:32: Thats it. About a 45-50 minute speech.

Inky live blog of budget address

11:32: Thats it. About a 45-50 minute speech.

11:28: The mayor is winding up. He's outlining his vision of the city, and its government, once the recession ends. He sees a leaner, more efficient government. "We're taking steps now to make our efficient success inevitable."

11:24: Nutter wants to study the row offices, which were the subject of a recent critical report by the Committee of Seventy. Nutter wants to figure out if the city can save money by reducing, consolidating, or eliminating those offices.

11:23: "The citizens of the city city are watching what we do." Nutter is asking other elected officials to cut their own budgets.

11:22: Nutter will not enter DROP program himself, and wants to prohibit elected officials from doing it in the future.

11:20: Withiout union concessions, Nutter warns, layoffs are inevitable.

11:19: This is the big news of the budget address. The mayor wants to declare the city's pension fund "severely distressed" which sets the stage for a new, less generous pension plan. He says the switch would save $600 million over next 20 years.

11:17: If the mayor has his way, big changes are coming to the city's pension system and to health care benefits. "I'm asking our public employees to contribute more... It's what Philadelphians excpect and it's what they deserve."

11:15: The mayor calls on union leaders, by name, and says: "It’s time for leaders to lead, not follow the streaming masses. Work with me. Work with us, work with us on behalf of your members and the 1.5 million residents of this great city ... For example, I met with union leaders and asked them to take voluntary furlough days."

11:12: Boos greet Nutter's announcement of the property tax hike. "I am sensitive, very sensitive to those concerns." ... The assessment system, he acknowledges, doesn't work. "This must and will change." Pledges to fix the assessment system for the 2011 tax year.

11:10: Here come the tax hikes. Nutter acknowledges the "irony" of the fact that it is him - a noted tax-cutting advocate - who is calling for the increases.

11:07: An array of spending cuts, all of which have already been reported.

11:04: "We face really though choices. There is no easy way out. I will not sugar coat this."

11:02: This budget, Nutter says, "is the people's budget." He took to heart what he heard from budget workshops, and is issuing a budget that preserves a remarkable amount of services, given the economic climate. This line, and a rattling off of the services preferred, get Nutter his biggest applause so far.

11:00: "Ladies and gentlemen we are not playing about folks paying their taxes." Nutter once again talks up his plans to collect delinquent taxes.

10:59: City residents seem to hate the very thought of city workers having take home rights with owned cars, and the mayor has definitely got that message. He's made cutting the fleet a top priority, and he points out that he has cut almost in half the number of cars that city workers are allowed to take home. It's not a big budget item, but it is symbolically important.

10:54: Calls his town halls, the Penn/WHYY workshops and other efforts the "most extensive engaged public outreach" ever for a city budget.

10:51: The mayor recaps the cuts of last November. He's making the point that the cuts - particularly to libraries, fire and pools - were small relative to the other steps he took to to close the fall budget deficit.'

10:47: Nutter is touting his administration's accomplishments so far.

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About this blog

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Troy Graham and Bob Warner and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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