Mayor Nutter has announced plans to significantly invest in city information technology and pursue paperless government efficiencies in an attempt to improve tech infrastructure, cut costs and streamline city services.
“We may not be completely paperless, but we will use less paper,” Nutter said in his budget address to City Council this morning before a packed crowed that filled the historic Council chamber’s floor and balcony seating.
If City Council approves the budget, Nutter says that an “unprecedented” investment in city technology will provide $120 million to improve IT over the next five years, including $25 million in FY11.
Job creation is also a priority of Nutter’s $3.87 billion budget proposal. Nutter promised to restore in 2014 the wage and business tax reduction schedule, halted last year. He also referenced tech tax incentive pilot studies announced last week, which will allow technology firms to sell services outside of the city tax-free.
Nutter insisted that tax increases did not make sense during a recession, proposing instead two new city revenue streamsï¿½a hike in trash collection fees and a sales tax increase on sugar-sweeneted beveragesï¿½to help close the city’s budget shortfall. With the city buried by double-digit unemployment, Nutter told the crowd that Philadelphia “must not allow our present to be our future,” later quoting Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try men’s souls,” he said.
The announcements are more evidence of the municipality’s continued attention to city technology. City Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank hinted at the Mayor’s intent to invest in IT at a Refresh Philly event a year ago. The administration overhauled the Division of Technology last year, placing Frank in charge of 33 city agencies and 520 employees. Last month, Councilman Bill Green introduced legislation to enact a permanent Chief Information Officer position as part of the Mayoral cabinet.
Nutter also praised in the address Councilmen Green and Rizzo for their work with the motor vehicle cell phone ban.