But Council appeared to be pulling ahead of Nutter in the competition. Sources in the General Assembly said state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams backed Council's move over Nutter's, and gave that advice to state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, the Delaware County Republican who serves as Senate majority leader.
Williams declined to comment. Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said that a member of the General Assembly — whom he would not identify — brought up the idea of a midyear budget rewrite, which typically would be verboten, and that Nutter had simply been discussing it in Harrisburg.
Jane Roh, a spokeswoman for Council President Darrell Clarke, declined to comment on budget negotiations, but said that "the Council president is actively talking with people in the mayor's office and people in Harrisburg."
One General Assembly member involved in the discussions expressed frustration about apparent City Hall bickering.
"The train is moving," the source said. "We're having a food fight. Nobody wants to take responsibility. Everyone wants to prove they have the biggest and best idea."
State legislators said Council's request for appeals relief seemed to be moving forward. State Rep. Mike O'Brien said he expected the state House of Representatives and state Senate would approve legislation that would give the city relief from a ruling last year by the State Tax Equalization Board, which said the city's property assessments were out of whack. O'Brien said lawmakers hoped to be done with the issue next week.
City Finance Director Rob Dubow has predicted that the ruling could cost up to $50 million in appeals losses this fiscal year and more next year.
Council is set to return Thursday on the budget. If it amends the current plan, then it would grant final passage next Thursday. n
Contact Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @ChrisBrennanDN on Twitter. Read his blog "PhillyClout" at phillyclout.com.