Kenney says city budget will fall short of Philly schools' needs

Council voted down the mayor's tax hike.

Pat Loeb
June 06, 2018 - 2:25 pm
Mayor Jim Kenney

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Mayor Jim Kenney seems skeptical that the budget City Council passed on Tuesday will provide enough funds for the School District of Philadelphia, now just weeks away from returning to local control. Council rejected the mayor's request for a tax increase for schools.

The mayor says his administration is still crunching the numbers in the council budget, but it looks to him like it is a bit short of what the district needs. 

"I think the district should be funded fully, now, in order for them to plan for the next five years. Council may feel otherwise, and that's fine, as long as ... we're going to be back here dealing with this issue again."

The mayor had asked for a hike in the real estate tax rate to provide $770 million for the district over five years. Council's budget provides just over $600 million with no tax hike, a $100 million cut in the prisons budget, and a plan to collect more delinquent taxes. 

Members said, with rising assessments, they were unwilling to also raise the rate.

The mayor says people always get upset when taxes rise, but he pointed to the suburbs, where he says officials raise taxes anyway to insure high-quality schools that lure Philadelphians away from the city.