City Council gives preliminary approval to new budget

Budget relies on new revenue and cuts to prison budget

Pat Loeb
June 05, 2018 - 8:07 pm
Philadelphia City Council

Pat Loeb | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — City Council has given preliminary approval to a budget that funds public schools without raising real estate taxes. 

Mayor Jim Kenney asked for a 4 percent increase in the real estate tax rate to fund schools, but City Council President Darrell Clarke said coming on top of increases in appraisals, they sought alternatives.

"In most people's minds in the city of Philadelphia, there was already a real estate tax increase," he said. "We passed what clearly is a significant amount of money for school funding."

The budget hearing was initially delayed for half an hour by protesters demanding full funding for schools, but Clarke said that's what City Council delivered. 

Council went with the mayor's proposal to slow down the reduction in the wage tax. That will save $340 million over five years. 

Council did adopt a slow-down in the wage tax reduction but also wants $100 million cut in the prison budget and plans to begin sequestering rent and other revenue from tax-delinquent owners of high-value properties.

Administration officials said they're still studying the numbers.

All told, it provides more than $600 million for schools — a bit less than the mayor proposed — but Clarke said he expects the state to step up, too.

"The state has a constitutional mandate to fund public schools, and this notion that we should be all in by ourselves is unfortunate," he said.

Final approval is expected next week.