Reporting Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter made a televised address Wednesday night to promote his budget and education agenda.
“The conclusion is inescapable, the school district needs more resources for our children,” said Nutter. “We face a choice between bad and worse, there are no painless answers to our challenges.”
Earlier in the day, outside of City Hall, a protest was held against a proposed soda tax. Meanwhile, inside City Hall, City Council members were discussing how to avoid a soda tax while still bailing out the cash-strapped Philadelphia School District.
Nutter wants a two-pennies per ounce soda tax to provide $60-million this year, more than half of the $100-million that the school district says it needs from the city (see related story).
Hundreds opposed to Mayor Michal Nutter’s soda tax proposal rallied outside City Hall on Tuesday, with the honking horns heard easily inside the building as negotiations continued (see related story).
Councilman Bill Green said, “(Council) leadership is still negotiating with the mayor about where we’ll end up, and it’s not clear that there’s any resolution.”
Mayor Nutter’s Mayoral Address (Part 1)…
Mayor Nutter’s Mayoral Address (Part 2)…
Wednesday afternoon, the Mayor joined the coalition of Philadelphia school students who marched on City Hall, demanding support for the Mayor’s ‘soda tax,’ and more funds for the school district to offset planned layoffs and program cuts.
During his 7 p.m. address, the mayor discussed the unpopular proposition of raising property taxes and the prospect of receiving negative feedback from beverage companies if the soda tax passes.
“Look, I get it. I don’t like these options either,” said Mayor Nutter. “But, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I understand their concern but many Philadelphians join me in a passion for supporting our children, their future and our city’s economic competitiveness.”
Councilman Wilson Goode doesn’t see that happening. “I don’t believe we can get the votes for a tax increase,” Goode said. “That’s the way it looks right now.”
Other options including tapping into the city’s reserve fund, something the mayor opposes.
Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio; Ben Bowens, CBSPhilly.com