Tough sledding for soda tax and property tax hike in Philadelphia City Council

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s quest to find some new revenue for the school district is hitting resistance.

Even to help out the schools, the mood of city council appears to be against a sugar-sweetened drink tax or increasing the school district portion of the real estate tax. Councilman Jim Kenney said there are too many unanswered questions about school district finances.

“The superintendent decided it’s appropriate to spend $24 million on an 18 day enrichment camp and then threaten to put increased class size on the table,” said Kenney.

Councilman Wilson Goode said there needs to be some new money for the district.

“We absolutely have to find more money for the school district, we have to fund transportation costs and hopefully some funds for alternative schools,” said Goode.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said some city money could be shifted to the district without raising taxes.

“There are plans to come up with more money and I absolutely would support transferring more money from the fund balance,” said Blackwell. “Fund balance is fund surplus for those who don’t realize that, and if you have a surplus in these times let’s take some of that money.”

Mayor Michael Nutter said moving the fund balance is not enough. He doesn’t want to have to cut city services more to find money for the schools.  He said there is still time for council to come to an agreement on new revenue.

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