Thursday, December 25, 2014

Council says no soda tax. Nutter says: Cuts.

In case you haven't heard, Mayor Nutter has responded to the budget Council passed today -- which did not include a soda tax -- by saying that it creates a "negative cash flow for the city," and announcing about $20 million in additional cuts. About 340 positions will be eliminated.

Council says no soda tax. Nutter says: Cuts.

In case you haven't heard, Mayor Nutter has responded to the budget Council passed today -- which did not include a soda tax -- by saying that it creates a "negative cash flow for the city," and announcing about $20 million in additional cuts. About 340 positions will be eliminated.

In the press conference announcing these cuts, the mayor said that the soda tax had not necessarily been "defeated," since it hadn't been voted on. But he didn't dwell on the point.

Heard in the Hall has a list of the cuts. They include two police classes, two fire companies, and a reduction of branch library hours to four days a week (as we've reported, this last item might not be that much worse than the current situation, in which libraries close randomly). About 100 people would lose jobs they currently hold; the rest of the positions that will be eliminated are currently vacant or planned.

We suppose the question now becomes: Are these the right cuts? And if not, what should the city cut instead?

Unimportant side note: Councilman Bill Green, who opposed the soda tax, came to the press conference drinking a soda. A diet coke, which wouldn't have been taxed under Nutter's proposal, but still.

Update: Clout has reactions from three Councilmembers, none of whom seem interested in revisiting the soda tax (and seem rather mad), as well as quotes from the police union chief, fire union chief, and Amy Dougherty of Friends of the Free Library (who are all definitely mad). Several of the respondents imply the cuts are retribution for no soda tax, rather than necessary because of no soda tax.

Frankly we're a bit confused by this quote from Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez:

We have given him 85 percent of what he wants. We’re talking about a difference of where he wants to be and where we want to be of 20 million.

Right, $20 million ...  that's how much the cuts are. What are we missing here?

Follow us on Twitter and review city services on our sister site, City Howl.

About this blog
Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

It's Our Money contributors

Tips? Comments? Questions?
Contact:

Holly Otterbein:
215-854-5809
hm.otterbein@gmail.com
@hollyotterbein

It's Our Money
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected