Budget Negotiations Between Mayor Kenney and City Council Continue
City Council and Mayor Kenney are still working towards reaching a consensus around tax policy and key city investments. Changes to the wage tax, business and receipts tax, and the parking tax are still being debated. Last week, the majority of city councilmembers signed a letter to the Kenney administration demanding that $100 million in the budget be dedicated to anti-violence initiatives. By law, a budget must be passed and signed by June 30. We will continue to closely monitor the budget process as we approach the deadline.
Federal Update: American Jobs Plan Negotiations Between White House and GOP Move to New Phase
Negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans appear to be coming to a close after reports that the Senate GOP’s negotiations lead, Senator Capito (R-W.Va.), will not offer a new proposal when she and the president meet this week. Last Friday, Senator Capito presented the GOP’s most recent offer, a $928 billion proposal. President Biden has stated that the final deal must be over $1 trillion. However, hopes of a deal are not entirely gone, as a bipartisan group of senators may take up negotiations on their own.
As negotiations continue on the American Jobs Plan, some are asking when there could be votes on this and other important pieces of legislation. It may be months before these votes take place. Moderate Democrats are keen to keep negotiating with the GOP in the hopes of finding bipartisan support, though important deadlines do loom. For budget-related policy, most bills will have to be passed before the new year, allowing for important spending legislation to be drafted. Without the urgency of pandemic relief, it may be a long time before hallmarks of the Biden campaign’s proposals are signed into law.
As Democrats navigate having a unified government with the smallest of possible margins, many in the party are anxious that it could end soon. The loss of just one Democratic senator spells doom for their legislative agenda, which is leading many to press for the swift passage of key bills. 50-50 Senate splits are historically fragile, with the longest-ever modern split lasting just 154 days (this Congress’s split could break that record later this month). Howard Schweitzer, chief executive officer of Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, details more in the latest edition of Cozen Currents.
Bucks County Opens Comments for "Bucks 2040" Strategic Plan
Bucks County announced that it was beginning the process of creating its new strategic plan, called “Bucks 2040.” The county is seeking input on “the best ways to use and develop land, improve infrastructure, and boost economic opportunities.” Those with ideas should email the county and see the press release for more.
Chester County Awards $4.2 Million in Grants for Outdoor Spaces
Chester County awarded $4.2 million in grants to nonprofit land preservation organizations and municipalities recently, intended for “open space preservation and park improvement.” The largest awards were $1.3 million to East Bradford Township to purchase Starr Farm and $863,700 to New Harden Township to purchase Loch Nairn Golf Course, which will be redeveloped as a “passive park and nature preserve.” For more please see the press release.
Next Week's Council Hearings: A Roundup
City Council will hold a number of hearings next week. All hearings can be watched here. Learn more about the hearings and review meeting materials below.
· Monday at 10:00 am: The Committee on Public Safety will review Councilmember Gilmore-Richardson’s proposed changes to the curfew law for minors.
· Monday at 3:30 pm: The Committee on Public Health and Human Services will review a bill that would limit the transfer of tobacco retailer permits.
· Tuesday at 9:30 am: The Committee on Rules will review proposed zoning changes.
· Tuesday at 2:00 pm: The Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and The Homeless will review a proposal to define and allow security deposit alternatives.
Wednesday at 9:30 am: The Committee on Streets and Services will review a number of bills related to parking permits, littering penalties, and regulation of personal delivery devices (PDDs).