Paul’s Statement on Mayor Nutter’s Budget Address

City Council At-Large candidate Paul Steinke issued the following statement on Mayor Michael Nutter’s FY2016 budget address:

“First, I want to commend Mayor Michael Nutter for leading the City of Philadelphia through the worst recession since the Great Depression. It is clear from the heartfelt address he delivered today that he and City Council have been forced to make some very difficult decisions together.

“Philadelphia is steadily improving, that is true. But too many of our neighborhoods still suffer from high unemployment, crime, and lack of amenities and services. Every neighborhood should have quality schools, clean and safe streets, well-maintained green space.

“How do we get there? This budget is in many ways a step in the right direction. Greater investment in the Department of Licenses and Inspections—including, critically, more boots on the ground—will ensure that a tragedy like the 2013 Market Street collapse never happens again. Governments are people, and they need people to work well. Staffing L&I back up is a necessary course correction for our city and one I fully support.

“I am glad to see Mayor Nutter make a strong statement on public school funding. However, I am concerned about the impact a 9.34% property tax rate increase will have on many Philadelphians. When the Actual Value Initiative (AVI) was implemented in 2013, the city said it would need a few years to fully complete a reassessment of properties. Assuming reassessment is ongoing, are some homeowners in for a double tax hike? This needs to be fully explored by City Council.

“If elected to Council at-large, exploring new revenue opportunities outside of property tax increases would be a priority. I would also advocate for a constitutional amendment that would give municipalities like Philadelphia the flexibility to tax commercial and residential properties at different rates.

“The Open Budget tool released by the City today is a great way for citizens to engage in the budget process. I will be following the budget process as I campaign to bring my community development and small business experience to Philadelphia City Council.”