Phila. City Council approves 2 new tax hikes

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Homeowners and business owners in Philadelphia may have to pay more taxes to help the school district get back on its feet.

"We're approving two tax plans, one for tax year 2013; another for 2014 and beyond, which means there will be tax cuts for many," said Councilman at large, Wilson Goode, Jr.

Property taxes are going up again in Philadelphia 3.6%; the third real estate tax hike in three years. It will raise $20 million for the school district. Business taxes, namely use and occupancy taxes, will go up 19%, raising another $20 million for the schools.

The mayor wanted $94 million, but that was not to be.

Council members know there will be bitter reaction to the tax hikes, but council veterans say it had to happen in the wake of deep cuts in aide from the state.

"We don't have enough money. We are nibbling around the edges trying to keep them open and moving forward," said Councilman James Kenney. "I can't just tell a whole generation of kids to just go be unemployed and go be homeless."

But there were those who say no more taxes.

"We have raised taxes every single year since I've been on council. We have to draw a line, and I am drawing my line here. No more taxes," said Councilman Bill Green.

Random reaction from across Philadelphia had homeowners weighing in on the latest tax hike.

"They keep raising taxes, raising everything. You can't survive these days," said Jeffrey Moore.

"The biggest problem that we have right now is what are we going to do about the schools? I'm for public schools, and we really need that money," said Ken Heard.

Mayor Michael Nutter is still not saying whether he will sign council's budget compromise.

With 6 new members in the mix, the council has plodded through the usual problems of revenue shortfalls and budget cuts; their solution, more new taxes which is business as usual.

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