By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City council today will again hunker down and try to hammer out a budget deal. But first votes last week on a new property tax system, and new money for the school district, may not survive on final passage.
Council last week gave initial approval to a new property tax system dubbed AVI, and a separate measure to raise the so-called U&O (Use and Occupancy) tax that affects commercial property owners.
Under Council’s plan, revenues from both bills would bring $85 million more for the school district. But with a final vote pending, support for both AVI and a U&O hike seems to be eroding.
Councilman Jim Kenney says AVI is a tough vote since the raw data — the new assessments — are not yet complete:
“We’re being asked to make one of the momentous decisions in my career (here), and maybe in the city’s history, with no information — with a guess.”
Councilman Bill Green says the Nutter Administration’s shifting estimates of aggregate property value have left many of his colleagues worried:
“I think it has put a lot of people who were potentially would be in favor of AVI on the fence.”
But is the plan approved last week completely dead? Councilman Bill Greenlee says no:
“I wouldn’t declare it dead yet.”
Also needing approval are the separate appropriations bills. Council will meet today both at the committee level and in its regular weekly meeting. Its final scheduled meeting is next Thursday, though an additional session on June 28th could be added.