Mayor Nutter vetoes parking-tax reduction

Mayor Nutter vetoed a bill that would have gradually reduced parking taxes from 20 percent to 17 percent, arguing that it would cost the city too much at time when it is struggling to raise revenues.

Councilman Jim Kenney, who had introduced the bill, said he would not try to override the veto because he did not think he had enough votes. The bill originally passed Philadelphia City Council 12 to 5, but Kenney said he believed the mayor had since convinced some council members to change their minds.

Kenney said he didn't agree with the mayor's reasoning. The bill would not take effect until 2014, he said, and would reduce the tax gradually - by one percentage point a year for three years.

Kenney's promise to revisit reducing the tax in January, when Council will have several members, elicited an unusually passionate response from Councilman Brian O'Neill.

"(The parking) industry does not bring tears to my eyes at all," O'Neill said, noting that he would prefer to see property taxes, which were raised twice recently, reduced instead.

Kenney countered that the parking industry was paying the higher property taxes, too, prompting O'Neill to reply that the industry "absolutely gouges people that come into this city and can't find a meter."

Kenney, a Democrat,  later said he believed O'Neill, a Republican,  was simply angry about the redistricting bill council passed in September that added many Democratic voters to O'Neill's district. Kenney and Councilman Frank DiCicco were the architects of the redistricting bill.

O'Neill disagreed.

"It was about a bad bill and bad policy and had nothing to do with redistricting," O'Neill said.


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