Mayor Michael Nutter unveils $3.6 billion proposed budget

Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled a $3.6 billion proposed budget before City Council today that does not include a tax hike, but will mean higher property tax bills for most homeowners.

The budget is sure to spark debate due to new property value assessments for homeowners which are expected to generate an additional $90 million in revenue. The administration insists it is not a tax hike, but simply a reflection of increased home values.

The proposed budget would slightly increase spending from the current year, and would include money to hire nearly 400 additional police officers and design a new police headquarters, but does not include extra funding for the School District of Philadelphia other than the additional $90 million expected from property taxes. The district is facing a budget shortfall north of $260 million for the year starting July 1.

The mayor’s plan would also make modest reductions to the Office of Information Technology, finance, the managing director’s office and the Streets Department.

Council will hold a series of budget hearings over the next few months, including some in the community. They must approve a spending plan by June 30.

Last year, Nutter’s initial budget proposal did not include any tax hikes, but that changed when school officials revealed they were staring at a $629 million deficit. Nutter proposed a sugary-drink tax, which Council rejected and, in its place, approved a one-year property tax increase and higher meter rates.

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