Kenney’s budget calls for tax hikes to cover school deficits

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Mayor Kenney promised local investment when he advocated local control of Philadelphia’s school system.

His latest budget proposal delivers just that, raising property taxes and reducing scheduled business-tax reductions to cover the District’s looming deficit.

The mayor’s plan, released Thursday, would send a projected $980 million to the School District of Philadelphia over the next five years. That money would ward off any potential cuts and give the District a long-term financial stability it hasn’t enjoyed in many years.

To make the math work, the mayor is proposing four major revenue streams:

  • A 6 percent property tax increase that would generate $475 million.
  • An increase in the real estate transfer tax to add $66 million.
  • An increase in the city’s annual contribution to the School District that would add $20 million a year and $100 million over the next five.
  • A slowdown in planned wage tax reductions that would save $340 million. That $340 million would then be diverted to the District.

The mayor will present his plan to City Council on Thursday.

His finance director, Rob Dubow, said the proposal was designed to “share the pain” among homeowners and city businesses.

Read the rest of this story at WHYY News