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Mayor Nutter to Harrisburg: We Don't Want A "Plan C"

(July 30) PHILADELPHIA -- Today, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter took a tough stance on the General Assembly's inaction to pass two measures that would allow the city to move along with its Five Year Plan and close the $700 million budget gap.

At a rally held in City Hall's main courtyard, Nutter addressed a large crowd of attendees and was joined by State Senator Anthony Williams and Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey.  The crowd he was really addressing, however, was the rest of the General Assembly - who need to approve the implemention of a temporary 1 percent sales tax increase, and the deferrment of city pension payments for 2010 and 2011 in order for the city to move forward with its proposed budget.  If the two measures are not approved and signed by Governor Rendell before August 15, the city would have to shift to its "Plan C" budget, which the Mayor outlined in his speech.

The draconian cuts that would be made in Plan C would include:

  • Significant reductions or complete elimination to the city's cultural funding.
  • The closing of all city recreation centers and two city health centers.
  • A shutdown of all branch and regional libraries.
  • The deactivation of six fire engine companies, three ladder companies, and five medic units.
  • A reduction in citywide trash pickup from weekly to twice a month.
  • An end to operations at Fairmount Park and the elimination of the City Planning Commission and Commerce Department.

UPDATE:  The House approved these two measures on August 5th.  The Senate, however, has expressed an unwillingness to discuss the measure, so what will happen next remains unclear.