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Councilmembers Squirming Over Nutter’s Proposed Budget

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(Members of Philadelphia City Council follow along as Mayor Nutter gives his budget speech on Thursday.  Photo by Steve Tawa)

(Members of Philadelphia City Council follow along as Mayor Nutter gives his budget speech on Thursday. Photo by Steve Tawa)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Since the 2010-2011 city budget announced today by Mayor Michael Nutter does not take into account funding expectations from Harrisburg and Washington — including possible cutbacks from those sources — Philadelphia City Council members know that they’ll have to make adjustments.

Following the mayor’s speech to City Council this morning (see related story), Councilman Frank Rizzo called the mayor’s budget “a first draft,” and he expects Nutter to wind up blaming Governor Corbett for the final result.

“The strategy to have this budget before the governor’s budget is orchestrated,” says Rizzo, a Republican.  “I think that what you see today will not be what we get at the end of the day.”

Corbett gives his state budget address next Tuesday.  He’s putting the final touches on it now, and is expected to detail cutbacks across the Commonwealth to plug a projected $4-billion deficit.

Councilman Jim Kenney, a Democrat, says Philadelphia should brace itself.

“If you look at the governor’s situation, it’s a dire one.  He has Republican majorities in the House and Senate, so he gets pretty much what he’s asking for.”

Kenney would like Nutter to adjust his proposal once state funding levels are known, so that Council has time to digest the numbers and pass its version of the budget by the end of May.

Councilman Frank DiCicco agrees that it will take days if not weeks to sift through the implications of Corbett’s state budget, and the General Assembly may not adopt a budget until midsummer.  Councilwoman Marian Tasco points out that Council must pass its version of a budget before the end of May.

“So we have to move forward and make adjustments as we need to,” Tasco admits.  The city’s fiscal year begins July 1st.

In a follow-up interview with Mayor Nutter on the timing question, he said everyone deserved to know his priorities now.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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