Property Taxes UP, Soda Tax Out in Philly

New $3.9 billion budget will leave city with only $40 million surplus, concerning the mayor

If you live in Philadelphia, higher property taxes and a fee for trash pickup may be two things you'll pay for next year.

Philadelphia City Council approved Mayor Michael Nutter's $3.9 billion budget for 2011 with a vote Thursday evening.

To fill in a $150 million budget gap, officials made several tax increases, the most notable being a 9.9-percent jump in property taxes, officials told NBC Philadelphia. That increase will only last for two years.

The 9.9 percent temporary tax hike has to get final approval from council next week.

Council also passed measures that will institute a new, yearly $300 fee for trash pickup from small businesses, duplexes and apartment buildings and a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco.

One high-profile tax that wasn't included in the approved budget was the proposed soda tax.

The measure -- which would have put a tax of 2-cent per ounce on all soda and sugary drinks sold within the city limits -- was both lauded and detested by residents.

Mayor Nutter campaigned hard for the new increase, citing it as a way for the city to make additional money while improving the well being of Philadelphians.

But several members of council and even residents fought against the proposal.

Angela Quitola, whose husband is a delivery driver for Coca-Cola, went toe-to-toe with Mayor Nutter at the Mayfair Diner in March.

"If you raise them taxes, what do you think the chances are that my husband will still have a job," Quitola asked Nutter.

"We have a $150 million deficit, I understand your concern, your husband works for Coke, I get that," the mayor said.

Officials say the new increases will leave the city with a surplus of $40 million.

A spokesperson for the mayor says the approved budget is a "step in the right direction." But they're afraid unforeseen costs like snow removal and newly negotiated union contracts may put the city back into the red.

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