- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Keep My Taxes the Same! Save the City!
So I see that my red-diaper baby friend, Mr. Murphy, wants to raise my taxes. Typical! I guess I can volunteer for that, especially because as a full-time student living off the fat of Mr. and Mrs. Stafford, I don't pay any taxes anyway. So raise them, suckers! (But when September comes, and I find a job and everything, I will need you to lower them again. Thanks.)
Anyway, I want to talk about the ridiculous notion that most Philadelphians are, as Elmer Smith said today, being asked to sacrifice for all of this mess.
The news, as you've heard by now, is bad. The short version is that you will pay slightly more for significantly less.
But Michael Nutter rattled off the details with that same deadpan delivery he uses to convey every other data bit he shares with the press or public. You can't beat this guy for bearing ominous tidings.
You want the guy who brings the bad news to be cool. You want it straight, no chaser. But you don't want the guy who has to get us through it to look like his pants are on fire.
Nutter's five-year budget-gap projections swelled from $450 million in September to $850 million a month ago to what now looks like $1.35 billion.
It's bad, maybe worse than we know. But Barack Obama and Michael Nutter are as cool as the other side of the pillow. They look like they know what they're doing, and the importance of that is not just a matter of appearances.
Both of them are asking us to make sacrifices. Obama in campaign stops even before he was elected was calling on Americans to "return to a spirit of service, responsibility and sacrifice.
My library isn't being cut. My street was never plowed anyway. I don't have children who won't have a place to swim in the 100 degree summer. And, I am not being laid-off. Life is grand.
Except for the fact that I believe that as a community we have a shared responsibility, and that we are killing ourselves in the long term with these cuts, I am not really being asked to sacrifice. And for most middle-class people out there, you aren't being asked to sacrifice, either. In fact, in the spirit of a wonderful man I know and love, you are being told that in this ever-growing crisis, you will get a wage tax cut.
Yes, in the time of less police coverage, shut down libraries and layoffs, Philadelphians are about to get a tax cut.
Here is the reality: Courtesy of the state, everyone who pays wage taxes in the city will be getting cuts next year, to the tune of about 100 million dollars. (Consider it a gift from the grandma who is spending her social security check at the Casino in Chester, with a couple cents trickling back to you. It also is coming, regardless of what happens with Foxwoods and Sugarhouse.)
So, even believing that the deficit is one billion dollars, which I question, and even believing that there are not much better ways to save the City money, which I don't believe, the City could instantly cut half of the deficit by simply saying that they were going to- temporarily or permanently- raise wage taxes by the same amount the Casino revenues will drop them by.
In the first year, that is $100 million dollars into the kitty. By simply paying the same wage taxes we do now, rather than taking a cut, we can immediately cut half off of the deficit. I think it is very plausible that with savings, with some help from the Feds, etc., the libraries and the parks and the pools can stay open.
For all the tax people out there, I would even say we can make them temporary. But, really, it seems silly to say that as we shutter the doors of our libraries and lay off workers at Fairmount Park, what Philadelphians really need is a tax cut.
So why don't we start there and, combined with a look at where we as a City truly waste money, see where it gets us.
Keep taxes the same. Save the City.