Mayor Michael Nutter and four other Pennsylvania mayors Monday called on Congress to ensure that new revenue sources are part of any “fiscal cliff” agreement.
“Unless the budget deal includes significant new revenue, it will result in an enormous cost shift to Pennsylvania cities, municipalities and school districts that we cannot absorb,” said Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“As mayors, we believe significant new revenues have to be on the table,” Nutter said.
“It is clear to everyone that you cannot just cut your way out of the level of debt and deficit the country is facing,” said Nutter. “If the federal deficit plan does not include significant revenues cities and counties and school districts all across Pennsylvania….unfortunately will bear the significant burden of those reductions.”
Our leaders in Washington should take heed to what the mayors are saying.
The mayors are right that deficit reduction can not be achieved by simply making drastic cuts that will negatively impact on the state and local levels on the middle class and poor.
The mayor cited a White House report that said if a deal is not reached “98 percent of Pennsylvania families who make less than $250,000 will see there taxes go up “and that consumer spending would drop by $8.6 billion in Pennsylvania.
Nutter added that if Congress does not reach a deal by the end of the year deadline in Philadelphia there would be cuts in homeless spending, teachers and class could loses their jobs because of education cuts and 400 Head Start slots for low-incomes student could disappear because of program cuts.
The mayor said cuts would result in 100 fewer homes being cleaned of old lead paint under a city program, affecting an estimated 300 children; more than 80 homeowners facing foreclosure would lose the option for counseling, creating a $1.6 million strain on the budget of the city’s homeless program.
Republicans in Congress are proposing a plan which they say would raise revenues by $800 billion over the next decades by ending or reducing unspecified tax breaks, cuts to Social Security and increasing the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67.
Republicans have rejected President Barack Obama’s more fair and responsible plan to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class and to let it expire for the nation’s wealthiest two percent.