Jun 23, 2023 - News

Philly passes budget without property tax hike

Illustration of Philadelphia City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Ixefra/Getty Images

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.

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.

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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