Nutter confirms he'll seek property tax increase

Mayor Michael Nutter

Nutter said residents would see a 19 percent increase above current rates for the fiscal year that starts July 1, then rates would lower to 14.5 percent over current rates in the fiscal year that starts in July 2010.

"These measures are temporary because I believe we have a temporary financial crisis," said Nutter, who will formally present his budget and five-year financial plan to City Council on Thursday.

The temporary hike would generate $271 million in revenue as Nutter works to close a more than $1 billion shortfall over the next five years. Without the increase, Nutter said, the city may be forced to make draconian service cuts.

"The city of Philadelphia does not have enough money to pay for all the services we provide," Nutter said.

Nutter - who yesterday pledged that he would not lay off any police officers or firefighters - stressed again that he did not want to raise wage or business taxes.

"We will not take steps that will have a devastating long-term impact on our city," Nutter said, noting that the city has already frozen reductions that had been planned to wage and business taxes. He added that raising wage or business taxes "would severely damage our ability to save and create jobs and this is the last thing we should be thinking about in the kind of economic crisis we're facing."

Because property taxes are split - 40 percent goes to the city and 60 percent to the Philadelphia School District - the city will actually be hiking its portion of the tax by 48 percent in the first year and by 36 percent in the second year.