Nutter vetoes parking tax cut

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has vetoed a bill enacted by City Council that would have partially rolled back the city’s 20 percent tax on parking lot operators.

Though the bill passed overwhelmingly two weeks go, sponsor Jim Kenney declined to try to override the mayor, noting that some of the 12 members who voted with him originally had changed their minds.

“Apparently the mayor has learned to lobby in the last couple of days,” Kenney said.

Three years ago, Philadelphia hiked the parking tax from 15 to 20 percent. Kenney regards the industry as unfairly burdened, and his bill would gradually roll the tax back to 17 percent, starting in 2014.

In his veto letter to City Council, Nutter said the measure would cost the city $24 million in revenue over the next five years.

“We cannot afford this bill at this time, given that we’re still in the aftermath of recessionary economic conditions,” Nutter said in an interview.

He also said it wasn’t the time to grant a tax break targeted for a specific industry.

Republican Councilman Brian O’Neill responded to Kenney in the Council debate, saying he has no tears to shed for parking lot owners.

“I just don’t see the reason to help them make more money, absolutely gouge people who come into this city for short-term parking and wind up parking for a half an hour and paying $12,” O’Neill said.

Kenney says he’ll try to cut the parking tax again next year.

Nutter says he hopes to cut taxes for all businesses in a couple of years.

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