Nutter warns situation to get worse

January 15, 2009 4:40:57 PM PST
A new year brought no relief to Philadelphia's budget crisis. Mayor Nutter says the already dire situation is getting worse. "Everything is on the table for discussion and legitimate debate," Mayor Nutter said.

This morning Mayor Nutter told his department heads to come up with three scenarios, cutting 10, 20, and 30 percent more from their budgets.

This is on top of 1-billion dollars in cuts in December from the 5-year spending plan.

The economic crisis has deepened in two months, the mayor says, far beyond the crisis stage.

"With tornado-like speed this economic downturn has left the city of Philadelphia with a second budget deficit which may exceed over one-billion dollars, the time period now and 2014," Mayor Nutter said.

The recession is ravaging the city treasury. Stock market dips have the pension fund hemorrhaging and real estate transfer taxes are down 30-percent so far this fiscal year.

Business tax collections are plunging. It is all a projected loss of nearly $120 million over the next 5-years.

Chastened by the public heat he took when he fashioned the first round of cuts behind closed doors, including library and swimming pool closings, the Mayor says he'll hold town meetings to gather citizen input this time.

The Mayor says in this crisis phase, there are no sacred cows left including more job cuts.

"Everything is on the table. Programs, services, tax and fee increases, contracts that are already in place, city cars, and everything else that folks want to talk about," Mayor Nutter said.

With that, Mayor Nutter caught the train to Washington to testify on big city needs as congress formulates the next stimulus package.

The Mayor says he'll be ready to introduce this tortured new budget to city council on March 19th.