Tax hike faces long odds with state
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
While Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Michael Nutter stand united behind the city's budget, they could have a tough time selling the deal in Harrisburg. Several items need state approval, but the city's fiscal needs could end up becoming a pawn within the larger state budget negotiations.
The sticking point could become the sales tax hike, which needs the greenlight from Harrisburg. But the state itself is facing a more than $3 billion dollar deficit. And Governor Rendell has proposed new taxes, that are unpopular with Republicans. Jake Corman is a Republican State Senator and leader of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says getting the sales tax approved won't be easy.
Corman: We'll see, we'll work with it, I would have preferred the mayor's original proposal but the Council didn't support it and we'll have to live with what we have but obviously this is a much harder sell.
Senator Anthony Williams is a Democrat from Philadelphia. He puts the odds at fifty-fifty of the General Assembly approving the sales tax hike.
Lawmakers have a goal of reaching a budget deal by the end of June. But with such a large budget gap, negotiations could drag on into the summer.