A new poll from the Philadelphia Research Initiative shows that Philadelphians generally oppose raising taxes, particularly the property tax, to help address the city’s projected $1.4 billion budget gap over the next five years.
Eighty-six percent of the respondents in the survey of 800 city residents reject Mayor Michael Nutter’s proposal to increase the property tax over the next two years. Negative feelings about his proposal to raise the sales tax by one percentage point for three years are not as strong: 53 percent are against it. And 68 percent oppose raising the city’s wage tax, an alternative being explored by some members of City Council. Residents were asked whether they think the proposed increases in the sales and property taxes, if enacted, will disappear in two or three years as promised; 69 percent of respondents say they expect the increases to become permanent, while 22 percent say they will be temporary.
At the same time, Philadelphians give city officials little guidance about how the budget should be balanced. Fewer services would mean fewer city workers, but 62 percent oppose even a 1 percent cut in the city workforce.