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Phila. Lawmakers Snub Nutter-Corbett Plan For Funding City’s Schools

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(City finance director Rob Dubow, left, and Councilman Brian O'Neill, right, disagreed on the best course of action to raise $50 million for Philadelphia's schools.  Images from City of Phila. TV)

(City finance director Rob Dubow, left, and Councilman Brian O’Neill, right, disagreed on the best course of action to raise $50 million for Philadelphia’s schools. Images from City of Phila. TV)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Over the objections of the Nutter administration, a City Council committee today approved its own plan to funnel an extra $50 million to the city’s cash-starved school district.

The mayor’s finance director, Rob Dubow, went before City Council’s appropriations committee urging them to adopt Governor Corbett’s plan to use city sales tax revenues to raise the $50 million (see related story).

“This is a plan that doesn’t affect the general fund and doesn’t hurt the school district’s finances,” Dubow (left photo) said.  “We think that’s really preferable.  We’re not proposing to do something that hurts the general fund.”

But committee members including Brian O’Neill (R-10th District, right photo) said the governor is simply passing on to the city an obligation that belongs to the state.

“I don’t think in the history of this country a state has ever extended a local tax to cover a state expenditure.  I dare somebody to bring an example of it forward!  It’s not a question of how do we fill in the rest of the money.  The question is, how does the state fill in the rest of the money?  Because that’s their responsibility.”

And O’Neill, who is the GOP leader on Council, faulted the mayor for supporting the governor’s plan.

“The administration’s acceptance to begin with, in Harrisburg, of the plan as the (state) budget was being passed is the fatal flaw here that we’re still dealing with,” O’Neill said.

The committee then unanimously approved Council president Darrell Clarke’s alternate plan to give the district the $50 million immediately, in exchange for the right to sell off unused city properties.

The bill now goes to the full Council, where approval is expected and to where it will return after the mayor’s expected veto.

Nutter, meantime, has yet to find a single councilmember who is willing to even introduce his sales tax legislation.

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