- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter hopes to raise property taxes by 9 percent, an increase he said Thursday would raise millions for the city’s struggling school district.

Nutter, in the final budget address of his eight-year tenure, called the plan “the only path to long-term financial stability for public education.”

The average residential tax bill would climb about $100 to just over $1,200. About 30 percent of the city’s property owners were already hit with a tax hike after a recent city-wide assessment.

However, the school system is facing an $80 million deficit amid recent state revenue cuts and a need to fund both district and charter schools.

“I don’t want to raise your taxes, but I do want to educate our children. I don’t want the next generation of Philadelphians living under the burdens of poverty and violence, without the opportunity to succeed,” Nutter said. “The time has come for us as adults to do right by our children.”

The new funding is part of a nearly $4 billion budget that Nutter delivered to city council.

New Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf also plans to raise taxes to fund public schools across the state, including what Nutter called a potential $40 million per year for city schools in Philadelphia.

Nutter’s plan sparked criticism from local Republicans who said the city already has one of the highest tax burdens in the country.

Council President Darrell Clarke, a fellow Democrat, said he first needs to see how homeowners fare if state taxes are revised.

“It will be some time before we have more certainty about whether the General Assembly will do its part to support our students,” Clarke said.

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