Kenney’s budget proposal continues to get criticism from all sides in Council hearings

Pat Loeb
May 27, 2020 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's revised budget continues to get battered by opponents of both the tax increases and service cuts it proposes. And City Council heard a disturbing projection at Tuesday's budget hearing. 

City Commission Chair Lisa Deeley told Council that the commissioners' budget was slashed nearly in half in the budget revision and, as a result, they would not have enough money to make it through the year. 

She said with the added expenses of paper ballots, even the presidential election in November could be in jeopardy. 

Mayor Jim Kenney dismissed that idea.

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“We will have an election both on June second and in November,” Kenney said. 

But the testimony underscored how deep the cuts are and how unpopular they are. That was also on display as city workers gathered outside City Hall to demand higher taxes on big business and a personal property tax on the wealthy, among other steps, to avoid the more than 400 lay-offs that take effect June 1.

The mayor said state law prohibits such solutions.

“One of the saddest things we've had to do is lay people off, but based on the reality of our economic situation, that had to happen,” he said. 

The mayor is trying to close a half a billion dollar budget gap created by COVID-19 losses but has said he'll revisit the cuts if the revenue can be made up.