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. We provided a report card on Friday, but one more grade came in. This assessment is from activist and former City Council candidate Rev. Jesse Brown.
Comments: I have been deeply disappointed in the way Mayor Nutter and City Council have handled the budget process. They showed poor judgment and took an unnecessary gamble with our future by turning to the state legislature for help. The state legislature has never understood the needs and culture of Philadelphia. Additionally, Philadelphia has the ability to balance its own budget and maintain 2007-2008 service levels. A combination of a hike in the gross receipts and wage taxes, and suspension of the tax abatement over a 2- or 3- year period could have created an environment where we “shared the burden.” But the mayor and council chose to place the whole burden on the backs of ordinary citizens, in the form of a sales tax.
If Philadelphia is ever going to be a great city we must take full responsibility for our financial future. Instead of doing so, however, we created more ill will with the state, all so we could place a greater burden on the backs of citizens who can least afford it. Neither this process nor this outcome was in the city’s best interest.
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