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On June 23, the Daily News editorial "We want the bad news too" requested details from the Nutter administration regarding its infamous "Plan B" budget that would take effect if the State failed to okay the City's proposed sales tax increase.
Fifteen days later, Harrisburg has yet to act, and the "Plan B" option -- described by sources in and out of City Hall as "apocalyptic" -- looms ever closer to reality. And still we know nothing more about the apparently services-blasting details.
Worse: unless I missed it, during the intervening days, there's been no echoing call from City Council, or anywhere else in government, to make Plan B public.
Well, it's time to make the Daily News' original request a demand.
As Ben Waxman's column rightly states, "It's Our Money" too, so we demand that Mayor Nutter lets us know how it's going to be spent, or not spent.
We demand to see Plan B.
It's Our Money's Ben Waxman had a nice set of factors that might make the sales tax hike get accepted in Harrisburg called "Selling the Sales Tax," including my favorite weird rationale that started with Mrs. Verna: the higher rate will help business elsewhere.
Who thinks this will pass? Why do people think the silence has been deafening on this phase of the process? And hey, Ben, who the heck is CleanUpPhilly?
Where do we go from here? Down to the lake I fear.
For the record this is my screed on the sales tax issue right now.
The question unasked in all of this is: How in the face of declining receipts at a 7% rate, will more revenue get collected at a higher 8%? State-wide, receipts from the sales tax dropped $100 million below estimate, to about $600 million. In Philly itself the decline is 6.7%.
The Henry George Foundation signed up yesterday and submitted testimony. Our plan is to help bridge the gap between the Mayor and the council's competing proposals. With less than two weeks to go, many ideas are floating, but no common ground has been achieved. We proposed combing the sales tax increase with LVT using the current BRT assessments, thereby changing - albeit modestly - the sales tax increase into a "tax on foreigners living abroad". We got a lot of questions, and had the data broken out by District and then city-wide.
Council was disappointed at the lack of attendance, but at least we had the luxury of being asked in-depth questions and a request to the chair by Councilman Green for a fuller study was accepted by CP Verna.
Helen Gym gave a sharp and persuasive presentation on BRT employees skulking in School District corridors. Helen's command of the subject impressed many.