Friday, June 16, 2006

In other Friday news

Another iffy day over at Blogger, but will get this post up when I can...
  • State taxes
    Apparently while I was only skimming the news, legislators in Harrisburg managed to agree upon some kind of property tax cuts/restructuring. Among the stories/responses:

    • Apparently seniors are thrilled, as the bill greatly increases rebates for them right away, while phasing in cuts for all property taxpayers as casino revenues start to appear. However, among those unthrilled with the plan are many school boards, whose budgets will become more subject to economic winds as the ability to raise local rates is removed (or channeled through a referendum process). Here in Philly, most of the cuts come in the form of reduced wage tax rates, which buffers us from many of the bill's complexities...

    • The Inquirer editorial page chipped in that this measure represents a good start, with much more commitment still needed to equitable funding of school systems statewide. They also note a feature not mentioned in the main article (today, at least) which allows various regions to elect to shift even more of their property tax burden into local income tax instead -- that seems like it would spark some interesting discussions...

    • Over at the Daily News, the opinion page is in favor of the new plan because they hate the Phila wage tax. No mention here on the cap on school budgets or other concerns.

    • Finally, Tom Ferrick speculates about what will happen if slots revenues fall short of the [prespent] projections, and speculates that expanding casinos to other games is a more likely outcome than that property tax subsidies be reduced.

  • Politicians

    • Ed Rendell continues to out-fundraise Lynn Swann, which may be a bad sign for the challenger. The level of detail here makes my eyelids droop...

    • A smattering of political tidbits and snarks from the Democratic City Committee meeting are provided by Gar Josephs, including the note that John Dougherty's replacement as Democratic party Treasurer is 85 and a fistfight between two powerhouses. Yeah, you can really feel the new wave comin'...

  • Housing programs

    • Apparently City Council will be taking a look at the notion of inclusionary housing, a policy which requires developers (those receiving subsidies such as Philadelphia's 10-year tax abatements) to set aside a portion of their new units (in the same or other locations) for lower income housing. Some developers already do this voluntarily, in part to win favor for their plans over those of competitors; the new proposal would make such set-asides mandatory.

    • Such Council hearings may have been spurred, in part, by a rally held earlier this week by a coalition of groups that support an inclusionary housing approach.

    • Marc Stier gives an update on the Housing Trust Fund that Councilwoman Blackwell was holding hostage last week -- it appears to have been put back on safe ground, and in fact the crisis may have been a manufactured one. (He also provides a transcript of his own testimony before Council on the issue.)

  • Other bits

    • Ben at YPP looks at a proposed anti-Iraq-war referendum and speculates about the effect that views on the war might have on voter turnout among groups of various outlooks.

    • Tom Ferrick notes that a critical change in wording of the Marriage Protection Amendment made earlier this week in the state Senate's Judiciary Committee may indicate a lagging of support for attacks on domestic partnership (for any orientation) and may doom the bill for this term.


Anonymous phillydem said...

Interesting stuff about inclusionary housing. There is a ton of new construction up here in the great NE
and it will be very interesting to see how an "inclusionary" law will play up here given all the hooha over the federal section 8 housing program.
I can see the LTTEs to the NE Times now and they ain't pretty.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

As I talk to folks from around the state there is much less talk about how great the tax "relief" is - and more critical discussions about its weaknesses. Here is one example:

7:54 AM  

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