Grade the Administration: Fatimah Ali

It's Our Money is asking various experts and advocates to grade the Nutter administration on its performance in the budget process -- it's handling of the process, and the quality of the budget it ultimately got, given the circumstances. This assessment is from Daily News columnist Fatimah Ali.

Grade: B

Comments: Philadelphia was right on the brink of achieving international status -- the mayor caught a bum rap with the economy when he took over this city. With lawmakers dragging their feet on the state budget, he did the only thing he could, cry wolf and threaten to fire 3,000 people. That took a lot of guts,  so it’s an "A" for tenacity,  outcome, and the ability to work well with the valuable friends up in Harrisburg who helped him cut the deal. But it’s a "C" on strategy, because by back-hand-slapping arts and culture, the very amenities that make this city special, the mayor took a huge risk.* He’s put a huge dent in his campaign promises to grow Philadelphia into a world class city, which must include a marriage between the arts, businesses and cultural development. What happens if the population continues to diminish because folks seek a better quality of life elsewhere? The only upside is that the new "culture tax" will come in handy when the Barnes Foundation is completed, which means Mayor Nutter averages a solid B, for deal cutting.

*Editor's Note: The Mayor's Office points out, fairly, that the proposed arts and culture tax is part of the state budget, not the Philadelphia relief bill that Nutter supported. The Mayor had nothing to do with the tax.

Previous Grade the Administrations: Larry Ceisler, Phil Goldsmith