Even More Evidence That We CAN Afford Tax Reform

We have always known that Philadelphia CANNOT afford to continue to lose jobs and neighbors, but now we know that Philadelphia CAN afford tax reform.

The just-published August 15th Quarterly City Managers Report reports that the City's Budget Bureau projects that the city finished fiscal year 2005 (which ended June 30, 2005) having collected $2.16 billion in tax revenues -- about $120 million over the original fiscal year 2005 budget estimate! If tax collections grow at the rate assumed the city, we should generate nearly $60 million above and beyond our current budget for the current fiscal year! 

In a recent Daily News article about City Council's busy legislative agenda the legislation to phase out the job-killing Business Privilege Tax was a major topic:

[Councilman] Nutter promises to push a new business-tax-reduction bill for approval over the administration's objections. "... in light of the administration miraculously finding $50 million in new revenues after we passed a budget and after the mayor vetoed the business-tax bill, we need action this fall on a long-term schedule of reducing and eliminating the business privilege tax," Nutter said. (Full Article )  

Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist Tom Ferrick had this to say...

A rising economy translates into rising tax collections. Rising tax collections undermine the mayor's argument that we can't afford to lower taxes for business, lest we imperil vital city services, such as libraries, rec centers, etc.  I always thought that was a crock because the amount of money spent on those services is peanuts compared to the overall city budget of $3 billion-plus.

I'm not the only one. The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), the state board appointed to monitor the city's finances, came out with data recently that tell the true tale of city finances over the last five years.  To summarize: It found that while city revenues rose by 8 percent, city government spending went up by about 17 percent. [snip]

Joe Vignola, who just stepped down as PICA director, said Street has "played Council members for fools" with his budget legerdemain.  The business tax cuts proposed by Councilman Michael Nutter will cost about $16 million over the next five years. During the same time, the city's budgets will probably total more than $18 billion.  And we can't afford to make further cuts in a business tax so high it scares away business?  So says the mayor. Allow me to repeat myself. That's a crock.  (Full Column )

You can help City Council understand that we CAN afford tax reform and that anyone who says otherwise is simply misprepresenting the facts!    Click Here to tell City Council that we CAN afford tax reform -- TODAY.