By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council adjourned for the summer this past week after rejecting some key initiatives of Mayor Nutter. But Council leaders insist that they’re not trying to thwart the mayor for political reasons.
When Mayor Nutter unveiled his budget in early March, his big request to Council was for more than $100 million in extra cash for the schools; City Council this past week adopted a budget that included less than three-quarters of that amount.
The mayor wanted to achieve that funding entirely through a property tax increase; City Council rejected that idea in favor of a mix of increases to the property, parking and use-and-occupancy taxes.
It is at least the fourth year that Council marched to its own drummer on school funding and other matters. Other school funding mechanisms rejected by Council in past years included a soda tax plan that was defeated twice.
Clarke — now in his fourth year as Council President — says this is not political gamesmanship, just government in action:
“The legislative body and the executive branch were put in place to have checks and balances. But I believe that if you look at the record, more often than not we came a reasonable conclusion on any proposal or legislation.”
“The mayor and the Council have probably agreed — with various changes along the way — on pretty much 90 percent of the Administration’s agenda,” said Clarke.
Majority Leader Curtis Jones agrees:
“We have an opinion, and we sometimes disagree. But at the end of the day, I’m proud of the product that we produce.”
Also Thursday, the mayor’s plan to purchase land in the Northeast, potentially for a new prison, was sent back to committee in the face of growing opposition on Council.