Friday, July 31, 2015

PICA: Things continue to be getting not as bad. Probably.

In our shoveling, we managed to uncover a copy of the city’s January revenue report.

PICA: Things continue to be getting not as bad. Probably.

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In our shoveling, we managed to uncover a copy of the city’s January revenue report.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority compiles one every month, and after defrosting this one we saw that it continues the trend we’ve been seeing: City finances, while not great, are starting to recover from the depths of the recession.

January tax collections saw a 4.5 percent year-on-year increase, coming in at $129.9 million. Wage tax revenues are up and the increased sales tax rate is starting to have an impact on the city’s bottom line, though the report cautions not to make too much hay out of one month’s figures.

The wage tax saw a year-on-year increase of 3.3 percent, indicating a stabilizing jobs market, though PICA is worried that the recovery might not be coming fast enough.

PICA also cautions that sales tax revenues have yet to hit the $20 million monthly level projected in the city’s five-year plan. January’s were $18.2 million.

The real estate market is also looking not as bad, with the third consecutive monthly year-on-year increase in real estate transfer tax collections. The increase was 0.5 percent — but an increase is an increase, right?

All told, tax receipts are down 3.3 percent through January from the same period last year.

You can download a PDF of the full report here.

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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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