Nutter Gives Emotional Response During Budget Announcement - KMSP-TV

Nutter Gives Emotional Response During Budget Announcement

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Mayor Nutter's New Philadelphia budget plan may make some folks happy.The proposal calls for increased investments in city parks and recreation centers, libraries and L&I Inspectors.

His plan to raise money through the sale of the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works was roundly criticized by protesters. The pending PGW sale lacks City Council support. Those lawmakers have the power to kill the deal.

Our Bruce Gordon has been covering these budget speeches for many years. He saw something pretty unusual this morning.

Budget speeches can be awfully dry, and, frankly, Mayor Nutter is not known for showing a lot of emotion.

He says one spending proposal nearly brought the mayor to tears.

Back in 2008, there were howls of protest when Nutter trimmed funding for city libraries at the time he said he had no choice; the recession was killing the budget.

But it meant lots of neighborhood libraries reduced their hours to just five days a week. His new 2015 budget restores funding, meaning 39 neighborhood libraries could now go back to 6-day a week operations.

In fact, he ad-libbed a line about the new funding in his scripted budget speech. When he was later asked why he put the money back into libraries after cutting them years ago he teared up.

"It is the absolute worst decision that I've made in the time I've been in public office. I have a very deep and, personal appreciation for library services. I know what the library did for me, as a kid," he said.

In addition to the usual books and magazines, city libraries offer the use of computers to those without them. Those desktops can be used to look for work and to sign up for health care and libraries give kids a safe place to read and study do their homework.

The return to six day a week library service likely won't come till the second half of this year, after the budget's been approved.

It's not often you see that kind of emotion or an elected official admitting a major mistake, but libraries can be the glue that holds a community together.

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