Budget passes, but not without consequences

CITY HALL. City Council Thursday approved a city budget that raises property taxes by about 10 percent and closes a deficit of more than $100 million for the fiscal year starting July 1, though the spending plan did not receive unanimous support.

Five Council members voted against the $3.9 billion budget that does not include two proposed tax increases by the Nutter administration that proved too contentious for the governing body to support. Mayor Michael Nutter’s “soda tax” and a universal trash collection fee were bypassed in favor of the property tax.

In response, Nutter, who pressed up until the final vote for at least a 0.75-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, announced later in the day that he would have to cut 300 city jobs out of the 2011 budget to create a large surplus he believes is needed for emergency spending thoughout the year.

“It’s not an endless series of cuts and cuts and cuts without an eventual impact on services,” he said in a press conference that included Councilman Bill Green in the audience. Green played the role of contrarian throughout the day, voting against the budget during Council, then arguing that Nutter’s cuts were unnecessary and “fear mongering.”

“I’ve said you’re not going to be able to cut your way out of this,” Nutter said, alluding to his push for his drink tax.

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