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Sales Tax

NEWS
April 28, 2014
Every year, Mayor Nutter and City Council must decide how much of the city's budget should be given to public schools. It's a tough decision, because by law, whatever they commit cannot be reduced later. Their decision has been made more difficult as the state, which effectively took over the School District in 2001, has time and again in recent years failed to adequately fund all of the schools' needs. But this year is different. The legislature gave the city the go-ahead to extend a sales-tax hike, which could provide another $120 million a year for schools.
NEWS
April 14, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - The Christie administration is proposing a series of "tax policy adjustments" in its next budget to "close loopholes, increase consistency, and support fairness. " But none of them, the Christie administration says, are new taxes or tax increases. Fees and adjustments are favored terms for both parties in modern political discourse. But the tax rhetoric being used by the administration is notable, in part, because the Republican governor repeatedly attacked his Democratic rival in his reelection campaign last year for voting to raise taxes and fees "154 times" in her legislative career.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
WESTAMPTON Dozens of interest groups lobbied legislators Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing in Burlington County to maintain or increase funding for their favorite programs next fiscal year, even as New Jersey makes a record payment toward its pension fund. Among the most pressing issues addressed was the scheduled April 1 expiration of New Jersey's interest-arbitration cap, which sets a 2 percent limit on annual raises for police and firefighters. Gov. Christie and other supporters of the cap say it has helped slow property-tax growth.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
THE $3.8 billion budget that Mayor Nutter will propose to City Council today would increase spending by only 1.3 percent, which is less than inflation, according to a budget overview obtained by the Daily News . Excluding a pass-through appropriation that would be triggered only if the city sells Philadelphia Gas Works, Nutter is proposing a $47 million uptick in spending. Of that, $32 million would go to nondiscretionary pension and debt-service costs, and the rest would be scattered across selected programs.
NEWS
March 7, 2014 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA Mayor Nutter plans to present to City Council on Thursday a modest budget without bold spending ideas, but one that nonetheless sets the stage for coming debates over selling the Philadelphia Gas Works and funding the School District. On Wednesday, School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. sent a letter to Nutter requesting $75 million next year to boost a district still running deficits despite making painful cuts. That would be on top of the $120 million the district hopes to receive from the city's extra 1 percent sales tax. Nutter's budget, however, does not include more money for the schools, according to sources briefed on his spending plan, and how much money the district can expect from the sales tax remains in doubt.
NEWS
October 22, 2013
The "PhillyDeals" column Sunday gave an incorrect total for the Carlyle Group's assets under management. The total is $180 billion. A story Monday on elections for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania flipped the political affiliations of two justices. Chief Justice Ronald Castille is a Republican and Justice Max Baer is a Democrat. A story Sunday wrongly reported on proposed legislation to appropriate $200 million annually for farmland and other open-space acquisition in New Jersey.
NEWS
September 6, 2013 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
HOPING TO change the narrative in the city's school-funding crisis, Mayor Nutter's administration yesterday released a series of YouTube videos defending his record and calling on other politicians to take action. One of the videos, " TRUTH ," calls out the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' recent TV ad campaign that criticizes Nutter for neglecting Philly schools by supporting a funding package orchestrated by Gov. Corbett in June. "The PFT leadership is running false ads distorting my record on education funding and my support for our children," Nutter says in the video.
NEWS
September 4, 2013
THE LATEST dismal poll numbers about Gov. Corbett's job performance prove that you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Only 20 percent of the voters believe that he should be re-elected, according to the latest Daily News /Franklin & Marshall poll. Sounds about right. Corbett won in 2010 on the strength of his no-new-taxes pledge. But that was really just a shell game. We now know he meant only state taxes. Lots of local governments in Pennsylvania have had to increase their taxes to fill in the holes left by Corbett's slash-and-burn approach to state programs, particularly education.
NEWS
August 23, 2013
THERE IS a lot of talk these days about the sorry state of many public pension funds and the need for "reform. " Most of the attention is focused on the unfunded liabilities of municipal- and state-pension plans, which are only now starting to deal with the adverse impact of the stock market crash of 2008 and the collapse of the mortgage speculation bubble. Most of the so-called reforms being proposed and enacted by politicians are focused on cutting back or eliminating benefits for workers and retirees, and changing the fundamental public-employee pension plan from a defined benefit plan that guarantees a minimally stable future for workers to a defined-contribution plan that decreases employer responsibility while shifting most of the risk to the individual workers who then are at the mercy of the same Wall Street bankers who caused the market to crash.
NEWS
August 7, 2013
SCHOOL opens in 34 days. And since our editorial last week enumerating the many things that must happen for schools to get the money they need to open - a total of $304 million from the state, the city and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers - zero progress has been made. There are promises of money from a variety of sources, but the district doesn't yet have full commitments or access to the money. For example, $50 million that would come from an extension of the 1-percent hike in the sales tax has not been authorized by City Council; some members, including Council President Darrell Clarke, want to split up the proceeds from the sales tax between the schools and pension fund.
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