Philadelphia’s lone Republican State Representative, John Taylor says it’s unlikely Mayor Nutter will get either the new school funding or taxing authority he’s seeking from Harrisburg.
Nutter is backing the school district’s request for an additional $120 million in direct school funding, and he wants legislation enabling the city to levy a $2 a pack tax on cigarettes and raise the liquor-by-the-drink tax from 10 to 15 percent.
“It’s not something our caucus is not going to look forward to or the governor, to tax more,” Taylor said in an interview. “I think we are going to figure out how to do it without that. I think it’s not going to be forthcoming from Harrisburg for enabling legislation for the liquor by the drink tax or cigarette tax.”
Taylor said it’s time for the school district to tighten its belt and live within it’s funding.
“It’s the same thing we see year in and year our, it’s budget by emergency,” Taylor said. “We always seem to get by. We don’t have a plan from year to year. We put things in place that don’t seem to be carried out. We have reforms that are suggested that are fought by every segment of the school district community.”
Nutter points out that the city school district has made some tough decisions, closing more than 30 schools and reducing administrative staff. And the district is seeking more than $100 million in concessions from the teachers union.
Taylor said he’s not convinced the savings from union concessions will happen.
“That’s bad budgeting,” Taylor said. “Hope’s not really a budgetary strategy, and I think up until now that’s the kind of things that they are doing.”
The school district says without $60 million from the city, $120 million from the state and and the teacher’s union concessions, massive cuts will have to be made.