Nutter Participates in Fiscal Cliff Call with Other PA Mayors

Picking up where he left off on the Obama campaign trail, Mayor Michael Nutter joined Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, York Mayor Kim Bracey and Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer to show Keystone state solidarity on the so-called fiscal cliff, urging a bipartisan plan that eases cuts before the Budget Control Act of 2011 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The act would gut the across-the-board Bush tax cuts while slicing more than 1,000 government programs. It is the direct result of the 2011 “supercommittee” deciding Democrats and Republicans just can’t get along.

“Unless the budget deal includes significant new revenue, it will result in an enormous cost shift to Pennsylvania cities, municipalities and school districts,” said Nutter. “These are costs we cannot absorb. Our economies are still fragile; our hardworking families will suffer.”

All mayors on the call, which was organized by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (not the Obama Administration), noted they are in favor of Obama’s initial plan to get through the process in steps, which means first extending the Bush tax cuts for all Americans except the top 2 percent.

Obama actually came to Pennsylvania a couple weeks back to make his argument regarding the situation. While at the K’NEX toy factory in Hatfield, Obama urged a “balanced” approach to dealing with America’s economic difficulties while making jokes about putting certain Congresspeople on his “naughty” list. (The president’s participation in the event was a little, well, uneventful.) He spread the word about a White House-endorsed Twitter hashtag “My2k,” based upon how much money the average middle class family will save if Congress allows the middle-class tax cut to go through now (the average family would save $2,200 in 2013).

“The only way you are going to turn cities around is through economic development, and if we don’t do what the President is asking for and create those new revenues, we’re going to be in dire straits,” continued Nutter on the call.

The Philly mayor also noted that several Philadelphia institutions connected to federal funding would face deep cuts: Public health services would clean 100 fewer homes with potential lead poisoning; 80 homeowners facing foreclosure would miss out on counseling; the loss of 400 Head Start (a federal program which counsels/educates young children and their families) slots.

And, assuming Washington goes over the fiscal cliff, as it’s called, it would be “virtually impossible” for Philadelphia to absorb the cuts, he said. There will be more on the fiscal cliff and it’s local impact in tomorrow’s print edition.

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