Philly passes budget without property tax hike
Philadelphia lawmakers signed off on a $6.2 billion budget yesterday without hiking property taxes as city finances look better than expected in the short-term.
State of play: The budget will boost overall spending 6% over last year, thanks to an influx of federal pandemic aid ($391 million).
- City Council took outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed budget and tacked on more than $90 million, designating additional funding for illegal dumping enforcement and the city’s mobile crisis unit.
- The Council separately approved small cuts to the city’s wage tax for residents and the business income and receipts tax.
Of note: Property taxes will remain flat — the city is forgoing reassessments this year.
- That’s because it's still working through reviews from residents who challenged their reassessments last year.
Zoom in: The police department’s budget will grow to $855 million, up nearly 9%, in part to fund upgrades to a forensic lab.
- The Free Library will also get a boost, to help restore six-day-a-week service throughout the system.
- The budget also earmarks $10 million for hiring bonuses and other incentives to fill the thousands of vacant city jobs.
Meanwhile, the Kenney administration is expected to start a pilot program this year to provide free SEPTA access for residents near or at the poverty level — about 25,000 people.
The big picture: The city is poised to finish the current fiscal year in a strong position.
- Revenues are projected to rise nearly 4% over last year, per a recent report from the City Controller’s Office.
What they’re saying: The city is in a “very strong financial position” as tax revenues are up and beating expectations, Nick Hand, the director of the City Controller Office’s finance, policy and data unit, tells Axios.
- Yes, but: He warned an economic slowdown was widely expected in the coming years.
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