Philadelphia City Council passes $4.4 billion budget

Philadelphia City Council passes $4.4 billion budget

Author: Jason Gottesman/Friday, June 16, 2017/Categories: Philadelphia

Before recessing for the summer, Philadelphia City Council on Thursday passed a $4.4 billion operating budget for FY 2018.


The spending document is largely what was introduced by Mayor Jim Kenney earlier in the year, though it was altered to reflect differences in priorities of city council.


“Mayor Kenney proposed a responsible budget that addresses our City’s most pressing issues without raising taxes, and through the legislative process Council has enhanced his proposals to reflect the shared values of Philadelphians while protecting taxpayers," said City Council president Darrell Clarke.


"That is how this process is designed to work, to include the wants and needs of citizens who told us their vision for a better City over 13 weeks of public hearings and testimony."


Major changes from the proposed budget include greater investment in jobs programs, the Community College of Philadelphia and other educational institutions, environmental remediation, protections for vulnerable populations, and clean city initiatives.


Though the measure awaits a signature from Mayor Kenney, in a statement the mayor expressed his support for the spending plan.


“I thank Council for their partnership in passing our second budget together. Without increasing taxes, this budget provides new resources to tackle some of our most serious problems, including the opioid crisis, unemployment, and violence," he said.


"It also paves the way for future economic growth by reducing the wage tax to its lowest level since the 1970s and making additional investments in transportation infrastructure.”


As to the resident wage tax, a movement is afoot at the state level to allow Philadelphia to have additional tools to eliminate the resident and non-resident wage tax by allowing a swap of that and the business privilege tax for a higher tax on real estate.


While the plan is supported by the Mayor, some on city council have expressed their concerns.


In addition to the budget, city council also passed a six-year capital plan for infrastructure and other city improvements.


That plan invested an additional $30 million in SEPTA and $170 million in repaving projects to bring Philadelphia’s roads up to national standards.