Nutter to release Philly budget Today

March 19, 2009 4:10:05 AM PDT
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says his budget proposal won't close any libraries and will keep more pools open. Nutter previewed the budget Wednesday. He will take it to City Council on Thursday afternoon.

The mayor says new sales tax revenue in the range of $340-million combined with two years of property tax hikes, 19 percent in the first year and 14.5 percent in the second, will help him maintain the current level of vital city services and avoid layoffs of police and firefighters. The budget will also include a one percent increase in the city's sales tax to last only three years.

The mayor says his budget will not reduce library funding. In November, Nutter created a public outcry when he announced plans to shutter some libraries.

Nutter says more public pools will remain open because of increased and private funding. Initially, officials said 63 of the 73 outdoor city pools would close this summer; Nutter now says 46 will be open.

He also says the budget will not close community health centers or reduce recreation department programs.

Activists who've been critical of the mayor's initial plans to close libraries and rec centers gave him partial praise, but then said his tax hikes were too hard on low income people and too lenient on the business community.

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