Free lunches for kids are food for thought
I heard on the news that Mayor Nutter has established a program to provide free lunch for the city’s children this summer. He said that no child in Philadelphia should go hungry.
At first I thought he was talking about a Third World country, and then realized he meant Philadelphia. I didn’t know that the socioeconomic status of our city was so dire that our children are starving.
The plan encompasses 1,000 locations where kids can go to receive a free lunch. I can’t help but wonder how much money this is costing our bankrupt city and its already overtaxed residents. Think about it — the cost of food aside, what must it be costing and what kind of manpower and transportation are necessary to get these lunches to 1,000 locations on a daily basis?
And I thought the mayor’s supporting the Philadelphia parks commissioner calling for 300,000 new trees in the city last year was ridiculous, in a city that was built around 9,200 acres of park! I give up.
Obviously between the mayor pleading his case to City Council and the citizens of Philadelphia to raise property taxes, parking meter fees and tax soda, he managed to come up with yet another way to spend even more money that we don’t have.
I don’t know about you, but when I grew up in this city, there were no municipal pools, day camps, after school programs or free summer lunches. The closest we came to having a free lunch was drinking water from a neighbor’s hose. I rest my case.
Theresa A. Guglielmi
Council hopeful calls for independence
As I prepare to celebrate Independence Day on Monday, I can’t help but see the similarities between how the colonists felt then, and how we Northeast residents feel now. Like our forefathers, after many years of stale and ineffective government, we have a chance to declare our freedom from the inadequate representation that has been holding us down for so long.
Philadelphia City Council has chosen in the last two weeks to raise our property taxes by almost 4 percent (10 percent last year), deplete our budget surplus by $10 million (which could cause layoffs and fiscal instability) and most importantly, this prestigious body preserved DROP for elected officials (themselves).
Our current Councilman Brian O’Neill is eligible for a half-million-dollar DROP payment, if and only if he is re-elected. It’s time to send a clear message to the rest of the city: We in the Northeast want to join the movement and help put a new face on City Council.
Let’s find solutions to problems like the funding of the schools and the pension system, instead of kicking the can down the road to someone else and taking the easy way out by raising taxes. Some of our so-called leaders will say they voted no on taxes. While that makes a great slogan in an anti-drug campaign, simply saying no to taxes isn’t enough. We need real, sustainable answers.
Bustleton resident and Democratic candidate in 10th Councilmanic District
Yo, Mr. Mayor — stop frisking Grandma!
I am really getting tired of this city government constantly plotting behind closed doors to frisk citizens of their hard-earned money.
The latest property tax increase is ridiculous, a phony crisis manufactured right AFTER an election, when we could have had a say in this.
I wrote immediately to two Council members on their vote. Of course, I got no response. I think it’s the “we rule you” arrogance of our leaders that bothers me even more than the taxes.
Let me tell you a little story.
My mom is nearly 88 years old. She has poor eyesight and sometimes puts her trash out early when she can see well enough to walk down her front steps. One day recently, she put out her trash during a cloudy day. When she went inside, she heard her mailbox clatter.
Someone from the city had been watching a feeble, bent-over old lady put out her tiny bag of trash. And this person, instead of feeling sympathy, said “gotcha,” and immediately wrote her a $50 ticket.
The arrogance of our leaders even percolates down into some employees: it’s “them vs. us.” This city seems to be at war with its citizens to see how they can mug us with taxes —whether on our (declining-in-value) homes, at parking meters, or in trumped-up violations.
Mayor Nutter recently signed a revised stop-and-frisk bill to give criminals a break. Isn’t he sweet?
I ask you, Mayor Nutter — when are you going to stop frisking the grandmas and taxpayers who support this city? After all, we hired you. You work for us.
A taxing dilemma for the city
Mayor Nutter has increased the sales tax rate to 8 percent, and the real estate taxes, now two years in a row, for a total of about 14 percent. If that would have happened years ago, Philadelphians would have been more vocal against those increases.
So what has changed? Could it be that Philadelphians can just afford those hefty increases? Or are they avoiding the Philadelphia sales tax by shopping outside of the city and have no intention of paying their real estate taxes either?
Take back your city in November
Enough is enough! For the third time in as many years City Council is raising our taxes. Remember the 1 percent sales tax, or the almost 10 percent real estate increase last year? Well, on Thursday City Council voted to raise our taxes by almost 4 percent.
Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has come begging for money saying it is needed for buses, summer school, promise schools, and a few other pet projects. Council is bowing to her demands.
The problem is we do not know how the money will actually be spent.
While the rhetoric has been turned way up, the truth is, there are no restrictions on how the money will be appropriated. Will the programs that we care about like early education, art, music, and athletics be saved? Will counselors and nurses and teachers be retained? The answer is we will have to wait and see.
This problem did not creep up in a week or a month. The school district presented its proposal in a meeting I attended back on May 16 at Fitzpatrick School; there were also several meetings at other schools throughout the city before that one.
I do not believe this answer is good enough. Where is our leadership? Where is our voice? Again this year for the third year in a row the 10th district representative on City Council sat idly by when the bill was introduced. After begging Channel 6 ABC news for time last Wednesday night, Brian O’Neill offered nothing in the way of a solution. In times of challenge and controversy, leaders need to lead, not sit on the back bench. Unfortunately, I have come to expect nothing more from Mr. O’Neill.
It’s time for new leadership. With at least six and hopefully seven new members of City Council next year, we can start to turn away from the shoulder shrugs and failed practices of the past and bring new, fresh, outside-the-box ideas to the table.
Taxation without representation needs to end this November!
Something’s gotta give with these politicians!
What is going on with our mayor and City Council? The reason the city is in the financial mess it’s in is because of the corrupt politicians from the previous and present administration.
Hell, if I managed my personal finances the way they’ve handled the city’s, I’d be living in a cardboard box begging for change on the highway — that is, once I got out of prison for extortion and robbery!
As a temporary fix, to get the city out of the red, our mayor put in a temporary real estate tax increase, raised the sales tax to 8 percent, stopped paying into the city employees pension fund and also supposedly re-structured the city’s upper-echelon personnel by doing away with some positions.
Civilian employees of the city have also been working without a contract for more than three years. After doing all that, the city is supposedly still broke. But City Council will still get a 2 percent pay raise in July?
Now, just to pour salt into an open wound, because the school district has squandered most of its yearly budget due to Ackerman’s extravagant salary and administrative mismanagement, the mayor is raising the real estate taxes another 3.8 percent, since his soda tax was shot down, to save the schools, too!
A majority of the citizens who pay real estate taxes in Philadelphia don’t even have children enrolled in the city’s public schools either by choice or because they do not have school-age children.
How much more does the mayor and the “minions” in City Council expect to milk out of the citizens of Philadelphia, who are and have been paying real estate taxes for years?
Anyone in City Hall ever think about imposing a tax on renters? The city would benefit greatly from some form of tax imposed on citizens who rent in Philadelphia, since the majority of people living in our city either rent apartments, condos or houses
I have lived in Philadelphia all 54 years of my life and I’m hoping, when it comes time for me to retire, if I’m able to, I’ll have good health and enough money to leave this city for good! Why stay in a city that punishes you for trying to be a good citizen? Something’s gotta give!
There’s no accountability in City Hall
The tax increase vote in City Council was very anti-homeowner. The one thing that stood out was the fact that the sugar products industry had a very good representation at the council meeting.
I didn’t see or hear anyone speak against the 3.85 percent real estate tax increase imposed on homeowners.
Prior to the Council meeting I heard Councilman Bill Green state that he would not vote for a tax increase unless the school district was accountable for the money that brought them to this shortfall. [Editor’s note: Green voted for the tax increase.]
The agreement is to be that after the tax increase was passed, the Council would have access to the school district’s financial records. That’s like shutting the gate after the horse has fled.
There’s no accountability in City Hall. They bring in these carpetbaggers (Ackerman, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey) and give them salaries that are way above the average of other cities. I’m sure that there are competent people in both the education and law enforcement fields who live in the city that could have been hired for less money. I for one am appalled that we are facing another real estate tax increase.
Another problem I’m having is the fact that all the pundits and experts are having a hard time figuring out why there are no jobs.
I’m a high school grad, no college education and bad in math. But all you have to do is look at the trade agreements over the years. They sucked the companies and jobs right out of this country.
Those agreements were a tool for corporations to break the unions, and boy did they succeed. They not only broke the unions but by doing so they also broke the middle class. Now Washington is trying to figure out a way to break the senior citizens and send them off into poverty.
What a country — for the corporations, by the lobbyists. Until those greedy companies are forced to return back to this country, there will never be any sizable job growth and our national debt will continue to grow.
Free parking at taxpayers’ expense
There are 940 parking spaces free to favored city workers and politicos, party chairmen, City Council, elected officials and their aides, etc.
Considering ordinary work days, take just 50 weeks by five days per week by eight hours per day. That’s 2,000 hours per year. At the new $2.50/hour rate just announced by Council, each spot, if it were metered, could generate $5,000 per year or $4.7 million per year from all 940 spots.
But take a wider view. If metered and open to the public, the spots would attract workers, shoppers and theater-goers, six days per week, some in use as much as 10 hours per day. 50 x 6 x 10 is 3,000 hours per year. At the new $2.50 rate, as much as $6.5 million per year from all of the spots. Want to include Sundays and holidays? You do the math. In any event, say it’s somewhere in the middle at $5.5 million per year. But no, these Council members and privileged employees and political leaders would rather increase our real estate taxes two years in a row and keep their free parking spots than look for other sources of revenue.
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