Mayor Kenney's new budget includes tax raises, layoffs, pool closings

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced a complete overhaul to the city's budget on Friday, which includes layoffs and slashes government programs, as the city grapples with the economic fallout from coronavirus.

In a release, the mayor's described the adjustments as "painful decisions in order to reduce spending."

The new budget will result in salary cuts to most exempt workers and eliminate full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary positions through attrition and layoffs. 

"This budget pares City services down to the most essential, imposes layoffs on hundreds of workers, and reduces or eliminates some programs that are simply no longer affordable,” Mayor Kenney said.


While there will be no layoffs for emergency responders, city government will reduce overtime hours for police officers and firefighters.

Other reductions include:

- Reduced investment in vehicles, technology, and other equipment.

- Reduced hours and programming at libraries and recreation centers.

- Reduced support for special events, non-profits, and the arts.

- A reduction in the use of local tax dollars for economic and workforce development, as well as affordable housing and homelessness prevention and assistance. This is possible since federal funds have been approved to support those areas, including direct assistance to businesses, individuals, and unemployed workers.  

- Small increases to certain licenses and permit fees, and an increase in the cost of commercial trash pick-up.

- A delay in scheduled reductions of business tax rates and wage tax rates for Philadelphia residents.

- Rate increases for the non-resident portion of the wage tax and for the parking tax.

- Elimination of the one percent discount for paying Real Estate Taxes early.


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Without the cuts and reductions, the mayor's office estimates Philadelphia would see a $649 million dollar deficit in the coming year. That number is at least five times the projected deficit in 2009 after the Great Recession.

The mayor added in a conference call on Thursday that some city employees will receive raises.

Among other notable cuts in the new budget include the city’s pools, which will not be opening this summer.

The revised spending plan will be released in full through a virtual meeting on Friday.


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