Reporting Mike Dunn
By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Despite pleas from Mayor Nutter, City Council today held firm on its decision to reduce new funding for the School District.
Council members spent the day meeting privately on whether to change the budget deal reached last week—a deal that appropriates $40 million in new money for the schools. That’s less than half of the $94 million sought by the mayor and the SRC. Nutter, by midday, made a public pitch for full funding.
“At the end of the day, there’s an eight-year-old somewhere who’s trying to figure out how am I going to get a high quality education, and what are the adults in Philadelphia doing about it?”
But despite Nutter’s plea, Council held firm to giving just $40 million extra to the district. Council President Darrell Clarke:
“At the end of the day, you cannot continue to tax individuals every time you have a fiscal problem.”
Half of the $40 million will come from a slight property tax hike, and last year’s temporary property tax hike is made permanent. The other $20 million will come from an increase in what’s called the “Use and Occupancy Tax” which affects commercial property owners. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce had lobbied intensively against that increase, and
Chamber officials voiced disappointment that Council, by an 11-6 vote, approved the U&O hike.
Council also held firm in its resolve to delay by one year the mayor’s proposed new property assessment system. Some of the budget bills saw final passage Thursday. Others were amended and are to be given final passage next Thursday, three days before current budget expires.