Tax Revenue Looking Up

The city is threatening to garnish pay of 622 city employees who have forfeited bail in criminal cases, owe court fees, or must pay restitution to crime victims. (file photo)

A report from City Controller Alan Butkovitz's office this morning says the city's tax revenue are increasing, thanks to strong wage, earnings and sales tax collections.

The news comes the day before Council returns to session, and about two months from Mayor Nutter's budget address.

Here's the full text of the Controller's news release:

City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released his latest monthly economic report that indicates City General Fund tax collections for the first half of the fiscal year totaled $922 million, a $44 million increase over the same period last year.

The five percent year-over-year increase in higher tax revenues is due in part to the strong pace of collections for wage, earnings and net profits and sales tax revenues. In the first six months of the current fiscal year, collections for both the City and PICA portion from wage, net profits and earnings taxes totaled $771 million, a four percent increase over last year.

Yearly sales tax revenues totaled almost $128 million, which was also a four percent increase over last year’s collections. Overall, more than half of the city’s total tax categories were either at or above last year’s collection amounts.

Along with highlighting tax collections, the Controller’s economic report includes an analysis of the rise in food stamp eligibility in Philadelphia. From November 2008 to November 2012, those eligible for food stamps in Philadelphia increased from 348,545 to 477,878, a 37 percent increase.

Although Philadelphia realized a significant increase in food stamp usage over the last four years, it was not as high as its neighboring counties. Montgomery and Chester counties realized an almost 98 percent increase, while Bucks County had an 80 percent increase. Delaware County had a 50 percent increase.

Currently 31 percent of Philadelphia’s population is eligible for food stamps, compared to 18 percent in 2003. Over the last five years, the largest one-year increase in total persons eligible for food stamps occurred between 2008 and 2009.

The Controller’s economic report is compiled on a monthly basis and includes an Economic Snapshot and Forecast, as well as real estate information and other local statistics. These reports are circulated every month to assist key decision makers in understanding and anticipating local and national economic trends. The Controller’s economic report is a useful tool for policy makers and analysts in understanding our regional and local economy.

To view the Economic Forecast and Monthly Snapshot, please visit the City Controller’s Web site at

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