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State Legislature's Delay Affects Philadelphia's Cultural Funding

(Updated August 25) PHILADELPHIA -- On July 30th, Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference to urge the Pennsylvania General Assembly to take action on legislation that would allow the city to move along with its Five Year Plan and close the $700 million budget gap. He noted that if the two proposed measures were not approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Rendell by August 15, the city would be forced to implement the draconian "Plan C" budget.

The House approved the city's plan for a temporary increase in the city sales tax and a delay in city pension payments in early August.  Last week, the Senate finance committee amended and then approved the bill.  The amended version is expected to make its way through the full Senate this week, after which, if the amendments remain, the bill will be sent back to the House for concurrence.

In response to the delay, Mayor Nutter has already begun the process of trimming costs and recently announced that the city now needs to cut $20 million from its FY2010 budget to make up for the lost revenue the legislation would have generated for the city in July and August. 

The full scope of Plan C includes:

  • 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.

The Cultural Alliance urges you to take action on this issue - we can't afford to lose funding for Philadelphia's incredible array of cultural institutions and organizations.  Call your state senator.  Make sure he or she knows that the city of Philadelphia cannot keep waiting.  Forward this message along to friends, family, and colleagues and urge them to take action, as well.

This issue doesn't just affect people within the city limits - Philadelphia's many museums, theaters, and cultural organizations employ and engage constituents from all across Southeastern Pennsylvania.