It is clear therefore that we remain committed to having a fair, understandable and accurate tax system in place for FY'14. For FY'13, the city has been diligently working to comply with local and state legislation that was passed in June that pushed the implementation date for the reformed system back a year and required that this year's tax bills be based on 2011 assessments with adjustments for improvements.
Getting the values right is essential so that property owners will have faith in the new system. Having the FY'14 values available early enough so that they can be used in our discussions about rates and relief measures will be key to ensuring that we are able to meet our goals of having a fair, understandable and accurate system in place for FY'14. We remain on track to meet both of those goals.
City of Philadelphia
Back to school,
more cuts coming
While elected officials spent recent weeks shuttling off to political conventions, parents have had something else on their minds: preparing children to go back to school. In addition to helping them adjust to new teachers and routines, parents know schools have been forced to make painful budget cuts over the last two years as Pennsylvania has slashed education funding.
But this may be only the beginning. Unless Congress acts quickly, across-the-board cuts to federal funding will occur in January.
Last summer, Congress appointed a bipartisan "super committee" to develop a plan to reduce the nation's debt. Anticipating that an agreement on increasing revenue while decreasing spending would be difficult to reach, Congress inserted a worst-case-scenario provision: Sequestration, automatic across-the-board cuts to programs favored by both parties, was intended to force a compromise. Sadly, Congress failed to act and we're about to witness a broad array of services being dismantled.
Once these cuts are made, 1,400 infants with developmental delays will no longer receive therapy that helps them catch up to their peers. In a state where only one out of five eligible children attends Head Start because of already limited funds, 3,300 parents will be told there's no room for their kids next year. An estimated 4,500 children from low-income working families would lose subsidized child care and early learning experiences that prepare them to succeed in school.
Once they begin school, 46,000 fewer children would benefit from the Title I funds that provide a variety of critical supports to high-poverty schools. Almost 3,000 kids would no longer be able to attend after-school programs.
In a state where employers desperately need qualified employees, 5,500 youths would forgo the career and technical education readying them for work. An additional 3,500 would forfeit federal work-study grants, forcing them to accept higher student debt or sacrifice college. These cuts would increase each year over the next five years. Deep reductions in defense spending are also part of the equation.
Despite potentially devastating cuts to health, education and social services, compromise remains elusive. Under the leadership of Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan, the House this spring passed a budget abandoning across-the-board cuts to restore defense spending - taking an even bigger slice out of funding for early learning, K-12 schools and other programs.
Congress should return to Washington and stay there as long as it takes to reach an agreement. The fairest and most effective way to accomplish this is by ending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals.
Director of advocacy,
Public Citizens for Children and Youth,