Archive: September, 2009
In the middle of Philadelphia’s budget crisis, Mayor Nutter threatened to implement his so-called Plan C if state lawmakers rejected the city’s effort to increase the sales tax and defer pension payments.
Among the more cockamamy proposals in Nutter’s “doomsday” budget was the elimination of funding for the lower courts. That half-baked idea may have helped the city balance its five-year budget on paper, but in reality the move was an act of pure fiction.
It’s easy to see why Philadelphia would want to stop spending $100 million a year on the courts.
After all it is the state’s responsibility. That’s right, the state Supreme Court ordered the state legislature in 1987 to fund the lower court system in all 67 counties.
Ever wonder why the Republican Party in Philadelphia never seems to take a position on any issue? Crime? Corruption? City services? Or if there are any actual Republicans who care enough about the city to offer an alternative to 60 years of Democratic rule? Or if the GOP has any candidates on the ballot this fall?
This article from Philadelphia magazine is a good place to start answering some of those questions.
Under the tentative state budget deal, the Philadelphia School District expects to receive an additional $306 million in funding.
Gov. Rendell has yet to sign the state budget, and already the school district is crying about an expected $160 million budget gap.
It’s hard to see the downside of President Obama’s decision to travel to Europe Thursday night to lobby personally for the 2016 Olympics in Chicago.
But that hasn’t stopped people from trying to find fault with the president promoting his country. One nattering nabob of negativism is Sen. Kit Bond (R., Mo.).
“I think it’s baffling that the president has time to travel to Copenhagen,” Bond said. “His number-one responsibility is to keep our country safe.”
While a smoking ban on beaches and parks may secure New Jersey’s standing as a leading nanny state, it would be a savvy economic strategy to bolster the state’s billion-dollar tourism industry while saving lives.
A couple of Shore towns have already enacted smoking limits. But at the rate individual communities are going to ban smoking on the beaches, it could take years to safeguard large numbers of bathers from the health risks of secondhand smoke.
Even better, a North Jersey lawmaker, State Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex), plans to introduce a measure to ban smoking on all 127 miles of Jersey beaches and in parks, citing “empirical data which support the passage of this public-health and environmental-protection measure.”
As legislators in Harrisburg patch together a budget with baling wire and chewing gum, their scrambling effort highlights loopholes in the state sales tax.
The legislature might not be scrounging to pay for schools and roads if the statewide 6 percent sales tax were applied more fairly and were updated to reflect changes in the economy.
An article in Sunday’s<NO1>9/27<NO> Inquirer pointed out there are few rules for deciding which goods and services get taxed in Pennsylvania. Sometimes an exemption boils down to which company or industry has the better lobbyist.
Maybe it wasn’t such good theater when Mayor Nutter had city firefighters burn 3,000 layoff notices the other week, once the firings were averted due to the state budget deal.
Gov. Corzine and his Republican rival, Christopher J. Christie, don’t seem to agree on much as the gubernatorial race lurches through its inevitably ugly last days. But they both support property-tax rebates.
It’s probably no coincidence that the Tax Foundation just “awarded” New Jersey yet another No. 1 ranking on its list of the nation’s most burdensome property levies. No matter how many such prizes the state accumulates, its leaders remain fiercely loyal to policies that have failed to solve the problem.
Chief among them is the costly fiscal and political sideshow known as property-tax rebates. These annual checks are funded by income taxes, claimed on income-tax returns, and based partly on income — in other words, related to property taxes in name only. Meanwhile, the nation’s highest property levy continues its inexorable ascent.