Jun 17, 2022 - Politics

Philadelphia's $5.8 billion budget moves closer to passage

Illustration of Philadelphia City Hall with lines radiating from it.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Ixefra/Getty Images

Philadelphia legislators are inching closer to passing a $5.8 billion budget that boosts property tax relief programs and increases spending for police and anti-violence programs.

Driving the news: Lawmakers introduced the proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2023 and companion legislation Thursday, setting up an expected final vote next week.

Between the lines: While the city isn't raising property taxes in the budget, many property owners are seeing their taxes rise this year.

  • New property tax assessments posted in May, the first in two years, increased values for residential properties by approximately 31% overall since tax year 2020.
  • Property taxes are due in March 2023.

Yes, but: A budget deal between legislators and Mayor Jim Kenney increases spending over the mayor's original $5.6 billion proposal and includes tax relief for property owners, workers and businesses.

  • The city's homestead exemption, which reduces the taxable portion of a property's assessed value, is expected to increase to $80,000 from $45,000.
  • The wage tax, the city's largest revenue generator, will dip slightly for both residents and nonresidents.
  • The Business Income and Receipts Tax, or BIRT, will decline to 5.99% from 6.2%.

Of note: The Kenney administration did not immediately respond to questions about how much the cuts to property, wage and businesses taxes are expected to reduce revenues.

Zoom in: Legislators mostly kept Kenney's budget proposal in place but added more than $65 million in spending, which includes:

  • $15 million for rental assistance and more than $1 million for eviction protections.
  • $5 million for police forensics.
  • $1.8 million for security cameras near schools.
  • $2.6 million for the Free Library, which already was in line for a significant funding boost.
  • $5.8 million for the public defender's office.

What they're saying: Council President Darrell Clarke said in a released statement that legislators were "taking real steps to help homeowners."

  • "The changes to the FY23 budget agreed to by council and the administration deepen our commitment to quality of life in our neighborhoods, public safety, community facilities and programs, and housing stability," Kenney spokesperson Kevin Lessard told Axios.

What's next: Legislators are expected to pass the budget on Thursday at City Council's final session before its summer break.

  • A city budget must be passed by the end of the month.
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