When he announced last week that the city is facing an additional $1 billion five-year gap in its budget, Mayor Michael Nutter said that "everything is on the table for discussion and legitimate debate." So between now and when the Mayor and the Penn Project of Civic Engagement commence the series of community forums to come up with the next budget and 5-year-plan, It's Our Money will try to set that table with its various dishes, utensils and entrees.
We'll begin with what some might consider "the spinach" on a table that's pretty much all vegetables and no dessert: raising taxes.
Over the weekend, the Inquirer had an item about how some members of City Council are preparing to talk about tax increases as one part of the plan to close that gap:
The real questions now, those Council members said, are: How steep will the increases be? And which taxes will be targeted: the dreaded wage tax, the oft-criticized property tax, or something else entirely?
"We're never going to be able to resolve a budget problem this big solely by reducing the size of government," said Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, whose views are shared by Council members Maria Quiñones Sánchez and Bill Green.
To be sure, there are still at least as many tax-hike opponents on Council as advocates, as well as a third bloc that is on the fence.
Ben will have more about the various tax hike scenarios in the coming days. The Inquirer piece breaks it down into five options: property taxes, wage taxes, business taxes, delinquent taxes and other fees and taxes.
Your thoughts on these options are welcomed in the comments section.