Yesterday, the Natural League of Cities released a sobering report. According to a survey of local officials, the situation for city governments is getting worse. Despite signs that the economy is finally improving, municipalities are being forced to make big cuts to local government personnel and services.
In some ways, it's nice to find that Philadelphia is not alone. According to the report, 75 percent of local officials believe economic conditions have worsened over the past year, which means sagging tax revenue. The still-weak economy has forced 71 percent to undertake some kind of personnel cuts. Nearly half reported cuts in services and 22 percent said cuts had been made in the area public safety.
Still, the report did include one statistic that indicated Philadelphia may be stepping out of the mainstream. Only 25 percent of local officials reported that their city had been forced to lay off employees. If Mayor Nutter goes ahead with layoffs included in $20 million worth of cuts announced last week, Philadelphia will join this group.
Nutter announced the budget cuts, which officials estimate will include around 100 layoffs, in response to City Council's failure to pass a tax on sugary sweetened drinks. Nutter says that without the cuts, the city could run out of cash during the year.