In ‘true compromise,’ Philadelphia City Council approves budget

Philadelphia City Council has given final approval to its budget.

After weeks of debate, Council Thursday passed a budget that includes $20 million in new real estate taxes and raises the use and occupancy tax by $20 million.

Council President Darrell Clarke says the spending plan represents “a true compromise.”

“I don’t think there’s 100 percent of anyone or anybody or any entity happy with what we’ve done, but I think we’ve approached this in a fair and balanced way,” Clarke said. “We thought that the responsibility for funding our schools should be shared among businesses and residents.”

Republican Councilman David Oh voted against the use and occupancy tax increase, but admits there were few good options.

“I thought we worked together well,” said Oh. “I thought we were honest with each other and I thought our votes reflect that.”

Councilman Bill Green says Council sent a message by giving the city school district $40 million in new money instead of the $94 million Mayor Michael Nutter requested.

“I think Council made it clear that they want to act on evidence and data and so, hopefully, we are going to operate that way in the future,” Green said.

Before the spending plan was approved, unionized school district workers who fear layoffs begged for more money.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.