EDITORIAL/Detroit, Philadelphia and raising taxes
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:00 AM
A tax increase?
Philadelphia aldermen are considering raising taxes by at least 5 mills as they prepare the 2014 budget, a complete disappointment for a board that has so much promise.
At a Monday night budget work session, the newly-elected Mayor and Board of Aldermen discussed raising taxes. This comes after six consecutive years of previous boards spending more than the city has taken in, or a staggering $6 million over the last decade.
Newly-elected Ward 1 Alderman Josh Gamblin told the board that he wasn't afraid to raise taxes.
"We need to make tough decisions," Gamblin said.
Mayor James Young agreed, saying that during his first budget year in office he believed there would be excess revenue over spending but that he was wrong.
"Tough decisions have to be made," Mayor Young said.
The tough decision will be to quit spending money the government doesn't have, not whether to fleece taxpayers.
The city hasn't paved a street in years. No clear economic development strategy has been put forth in a decade. It's time for an accounting, - which we thought the election handled - not a tax hike.
More than a tax increase, what Philadelphia needs is a comprehensive economic growth strategy, a plan to bring jobs, to better educate our people, raise the quality of life for all and grow the tax base.
If Philadelphia were growing as it should, tax revenue would be growing. Instead, in 2011, not a single commercial building was constructed.
Misplaced priorities led to a nearly decade-long delay in constructing a new hospital. Those same misplaced priorities have contributed to the city's funding shortfall.
Philadelphia has been spending about $380,000 annually since 2005 to cover its share of the $6 million in park improvements debt. The facilities are nice and well-used, but like Detroit, Philadelphia is out of money.
Let's not dig a deeper hole by raising taxes when it's least affordable. Cut spending first.
Liquor sales should increase tax revenue when stores start opening next month and when the booze start flowing at the promised new chain restaurants.
Raising taxes simply isn't an option. Look at Detroit and 50 years of liberalism.
We can have a better future without raising taxes.