A majority of Northeast residents would like to see their municipal taxes lowered. That’s probably not a big surprise. However, they want taxes to decrease even if that means fewer city services, a survey released Tuesday shows.
Fifty-one percent of the Northeast respondents to a Pew Charitable Trusts poll said they would accept less if they could see their taxes lowered. Residents of no other sections of the city felt as strongly.
City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10 dist.) isn’t surprised by Northeast residents’ opinions.
“We’re in a recession. A lot of people are hurting,” he said Tuesday. However, he added, cutting services in the Northeast would be a challenge compared to other parts of Philly because city services here already are bare bones.
On the attitudinal flip side, South and West Philly residents said they’re willing to pay higher taxes to get more from the city.
Fifty-four percent of the Philadelphians polled said they pay too much in taxes. Only 12 percent said they get their money’s worth for their tax dollars; and 27 percent said they got a good deal for their taxes.
The survey results made public Tuesday morning composed the second collection of polling data about the city that Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative has released this month. And, as in the first survey, the opinions of Northeast residents differed on some points from those of other Philadelphians.
Asked if they were OK with advertising in City Hall and other city properties to bring in revenue, 61 percent of the Northeast residents polled said they were. Only 30 percent opposed the idea. Citywide, the numbers were 56 percent for and 34 percent against. The idea got majority approvals in all city neighborhoods, but none supported the idea as much as Northeast residents did.
Citywide, poll respondents were pretty much divided on whether the city should tax sugary drinks to raise needed funds. Answers to that question were listed as “Favor Strongly,” “Favor – Not Strongly,” “Oppose – Not Strongly” and “Oppose Strongly.”
Eleven percent of Northeast’s residents opposed, though not strongly, the idea, which the administration of Mayor Michael Nutter unsuccessfully has tried to move through City Council twice. Forty percent strongly opposed the concept. The other side of that 51 percent total opposition was a 32-percent strongly favorable and not strongly favorable of 11 percent.
Citywide, the favorables on what has been called the “soda tax” added up to 46 percent, and the opposed, 49 percent. Favorable failed to get a majority anywhere in the city. The opposition totals in North and Northwest Philadelphia topped Northeast Philly’s 51 percent with 54 and 55 percent respectively, but the residents of no other sections were as strongly opposed to the sugary drink tax ideas as Northeast residents.
Pepsi, located at Roosevelt Boulevard and Comly Road, is a big employer.
The poll respondents from the Northeast were close to the citywide percentages on a question about pension benefits for newly hired city workers. Forty-three percent of the Northeast’s residents said new hires should get the same perks as other city workers; 46 percent said giving the newbies less was OK.
Close to the citywide numbers, but a flip nonetheless. Citywide, 47 percent said new city employees shouldn’t get lower benefits, and 43 percent said lower was fine with them.
Survey respondents were asked to rate city services as excellent, good, only fair or poor.
Excellents were never in the majority, but fire protection, trash collection and library services drew a lot of appreciation.
Of those surveyed, 23 percent rated fire protection excellent and 51 percent said it was good. Trash collection was rated excellent by 17 percent and good by 51 percent.
Citywide, library services got the top rating from 17 percent, with 46 percent rating them good. Northeast residents had a higher opinion of the library, giving it a combined excellent/good rating of 68 percent.
Police, transportation, parks and playgrounds all got pretty good marks, too. Street repair and maintenance got the fewest excellents — just 3 percent — and public schools didn’t do much better at 4 percent. Street repair got the strongest poor rating — 38 percent. Schools were close; they got poor ratings from 36 percent.
Of the 1,600 Philadelphians polled in January, 335 were from the Northeast. Not all answered all questions.
Poll results released earlier this month showed Northeast Philadelphians lined up with other city residents in their approval of the mayor and their worries about crime.
However, Northeast residents felt more strongly than those from other neighborhoods that the city has gotten worse in the past five years. More than 40 percent of Northeast residents surveyed also regarded immigrants as burdens, not assets, to the city. ••EndFragment