"Doomsday" approaching in Philadelphia

August 17, 2009 3:57:31 PM PDT
Mayor Michael Nutter says the state budget impasse is forcing new cuts.

The $20 million in cutbacks he announced today are part of the mayor's worst-case "Doomsday Budget."

At a news conference today Nutter said the city is now losing $10 million a month because state lawmakers won't approve a temporary 1% sales tax increase and adjustments for pension payments. Nutter said the measures won't cost the state a dime. But if not passed, the city will feel the devastating effects for decades.

"We cannot afford to wait any longer," said Nutter, announcing new cutbacks that stretch citywide.

Two dozen full time positions will be eliminated, the 100-member police cadet class set to begin in the fall will be delayed, snow removal and road repair equipment purchases will be put on hold. And starting at the end of the month, the newly created 3-1-1 City Call Center will no longer run 24/7.

"This is a people issue, this is a service issue, this is a quality of life issue," said Nutter. "It's about the future of this great city."

The impact on most Philadelphians appears minimal at this point. But the mayor stressed the city is on the verge of massive cuts if state lawmakers don't approve the temporary sales tax increase and pension adjustments.

"We would have to eliminate almost 1000 positions in the Philadelphia Police Department and almost 200 positions in the Philadelphia Fire Department," he said. "We would reduce trash pickup from presently one time a week to twice a month."

In addition, all city recreation centers and libraries would be closed, and 3000 city positions eliminated.

"We have a lot of people who live here and that could be very devastating," said Kayeda Webb of Olney.

"This is a devastating scenario for our city, and one that all of us are fighting hard to avoid," said Nutter.

The Pennsylvania House has already passed House Bill 1828 approving the measures requested by the city. It is now the hands of the Senate.


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