PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – The city of Philadelphia is warning of a potential $450 million budget gap for the 2022 fiscal year and is asking residents to weigh in on spending priorities. Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday cited the pandemic and ensuing economic downturn for what he called a “staggering” drop in tax revenues as well as new costs and higher costs for existing services. In a statement, he said “the picture for the coming budget is bleak.”
“This pandemic and the economic downturn it caused led to new costs, higher costs for the services we’ve always provided, and a staggering drop in our tax revenues” Kenney said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as we work with the City’s economists to look ahead, the picture for the coming budget is bleak.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Students To Remain Virtual As Mediation Process Between School District, Teachers' Union On Phased Reopening Nearing End
Finance Director Rob Dubow said officials are optimistic about help from the federal government but the “timing, scale, and details of how funds will arrive and can be spent remains undetermined.” And even with a one-time infusion of federal money, he said, the city could face “years of budget stress as the economy recovers.”
“Philadelphia needs flexible federal relief delivered directly to the City to replace lost revenue in order to support core government services and pandemic response efforts,” Dubow said. “We’re optimistic about the proposed relief package from President Biden, which includes funds for state and local government; but the timing, scale, and details of how funds will arrive and can be spent remains undetermined. Even with a one-time infusion from Washington D.C., Philadelphia could face years of budget stress as the economy recovers. This will likely require painful budget choices that could make the region’s economic recovery more difficult.”READ MORE: Delaware County Company Develops 'The Hurricane,' Device Using UVC Technology To Kill Coronavirus
The budget director, Marisa Waxman, called for “diverse voices and insights” to help come up with a budget that addresses community needs, and said officials still plan to try to address racial disparities.
The mayor is to propose the budget April 15, and officials said they want to hear from residents about how the city should focus spending amid “difficult budget choices.” Residents and business owners can weigh in through a 10-minute survey by Feb. 28, officials said.MORE NEWS: Fourth Bucks County Resident, Raechel Genco, Arrested For Alleged Role In Capitol Riot
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