July 1: School funding falls short | culture of non-collection | SEPTA budget, fare hikes, gender stickers | city homicides drop 38%

Welcome to the working week, Streeters! The calendar may have turned to a new month but it’s the same old weather: another thick, humid day awaits us with more rain showers ahead. July 1 also marks the beginning of a new fiscal year, so today’s Buzz is dominated by a selection of budget-related news:

The last-minute, 11th hour efforts to find more funding for Philadelphia schools didn’t come up with enough money to salvage the school district’s doomsday budget next year. Governor Tom Corbett’s plan for Philly schools identified $127 million to help plug the district’s $180 million budget gap, as Newsworks and the Public School Notebook report. The funds include a one-time $45 million contribution of money owed to the federal government has (apparently) been forgiven, and the rest comes from an extension of an additional 1% sales tax in Philly and improved tax-delinquency collections by the city. 

While it’s clear that Philadelphia has to do a better job collecting delinquent taxes, that will require the city to do more to combat the city’s “culture of non-collection,” as a Daily News editorial noted in response to a Pew study on tax delinquency. If city leadership does not confront the problem, “collecting on delinquencies will be a never-ending, never-winning cycle that in the end harms everyone.”

SEPTA passed a temporary one-month budget in anticipation of the state’s transportation funding plan, Christine Fisher reported. NewsWorks notes this morning that the transportation plan stalled in the PA House, one among several measures that came down to the June 30th wire.

As of today SEPTA fares have officially gone up. Here’s the breakdown. More good news: SEPTA has finally ditched the gender identification stickers on its passes effective today, the philly.com reports.

Philadelphia is on pace for a 45-year low in annual homicides, the Inquirer reports. With the first six months of 2013 behind us, there have been 38% fewer homicides than the same period in 2012. What changed? Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that it’s largely due to cumulative improvements in the department’s approach analyzing crime using data-driven approaches and targeting crime “hot spots.”

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along. | Follow us on Twitter @EOTSPhilly | Like us on Facebook | Share your Philly photos in our Flickr Group

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