wage taxes

Guv sez: Drop Dead, Mayor sez: Keep smilin'

Sub-Headline: Sorry, Can’t Really Sugarcoat This Stuff Folks.

There’s no doubt that Philly’s in a heap of trouble from budgets being torturously made, as we speak, in Washington, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. It seems we’re assured of two years of bad news, first from service cuts, then from tax increases on working people and homeowners. With a little bit of bad luck we could face a mix of both. The moral? We’d better organize ourselves a lot better than we did in 2010 if we don’t want a third and fourth year helping of the same thing. And also, if you pass a corporate exec in the street, keep your hands in your pockets.

Cohen tax rebate is in jeopardy tomorrow

It looks like the whole tax package will be voted on by City Council tomorrow. The deal that's been cut will apparently slow the elimination of the gross receipts tax to a 10 rather than 8 year timetable, and also slow cuts to the net income portion of the BPT. To accomplish that, and offer various goodies to Councilmembers, the Mayor will apparently spend down virtually the entire City fund balance now at approximately $200 million.

The other economy the Mayor is more than willing to make is to ditch the one part of the tax code that makes it marginally progressive, the wage tax rebate program pushed through by the late Councilman David Cohen at the end of his life. In deference to Councilmembers who chafe at voting for outright repeal, the Mayor is apparently proposing a one year postponement. That's a tactic that has already been used twice. If Council goes for it again, that will be a signal that it intends to let it slide forever into infinity. It is pretty outrageous that on a day that Nutter made it a point to appear at a press conference with John Edwards lauding an effort to fight poverty by, among other things, expanding the earned income tax credit, he is pushing an effort to deep six its Philly equivalent. While pushing tax cuts for Ford, Apple, Budweiser and most of the rest of the Fortune 500.

Wilson Goode is rumored to be unwilling to let this go without a fight. If you think it plainly immoral to let working people hang while giving tax breaks to multinational corporations, call your Councilperson now, and let them know. And, if this is really getting to you, come to Council tomorrow at 9:30 or so, and pigeonhole your favorite representative for a few moments while they still have a chance to do the right thing.

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