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Clarke Plan Would Shorten Wage Tax Cuts

Council President Darrell L. Clarke introduced a bill Thursday that would shorten Mayor Nutter's vision of a five-year reduction in the wage tax to just two years.

Nutter has called for incremental cuts in the first two years of his plan, with bigger drops in the final three years. By 2018, the wage tax rate would have fallen from 3.928 percent to 3.7568 percent.

Clarke's bill only includes the much smaller reductions in the first two years. He said he introduced the bill in the "broader context" of the city's effort to correct the property tax assessment system, do a better job of collecting delinquent taxes and stabilize funding for the school district.

He also mentioned his plan to raise money by selling advertising on municipal property — he repeatedly has accused the Nutter administration of being hostile to the idea and purposely stalling it.

Given all those moving parts to the city's finances, Clarke said he did not think committing to a five-year plan was prudent. Nutter officials fear not locking in a long term commitment would tempt Council to halt the tax cuts after the first two years.

Clarke, however, said that was not his intention. Given the right circumstances, he said, future cuts could be "even more dramatic."

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