Saturday, February 6, 2016

IOM editorial: No new taxes! Maybe.

On Tuesday, Mayor Nutter announced that he won’t propose any new taxes in his budget address next week.

IOM editorial: No new taxes! Maybe.


On Tuesday, Mayor Nutter announced that he won’t propose any new taxes in his budget address next week.

But just over a year ago, the Mayor stood before Council and spoke these words as he proposed this year’s budget:

“There are no tax increases in the budget that I propose today … The people of this city have given enough.”

We all remember how that turned out. As soon as the May primary election was out of the way, the School District came before City Council, announced it had a big deficit, and asked for an extra $100 million. The Mayor advocated for a new soda tax that would raise $60 million for the schools. Council rejected that idea, but subjected Philadelphians to a 3.85 percent property tax hike – the second property tax hike in two years – which, combined with a parking fee hike and money from the city’s surplus, sent the district an extra $53 million.

Despite the help, the School District is still deep in the financial woods, facing a $38 million gap between now and June and a bigger deficit for next year. And the administration won’t comment when asked whether the city would be willing to help the District again.

So next week, when the mayor boasts that he’s not proposing any new taxes, remember: “proposing” isn’t the same thing as “enacting.” The School District isn’t scheduled to come before Council until May 8.

This It's Our Money editorial was also published in today's Daily News.

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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.

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