It’s the beginning of the end for the likes of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and City Council President Darrell Clarke.
City Council gave initial approval to a $6.2 billion budget Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for final approval of the term-limited mayor’s eighth and final budget.
“I am proud that it reflects our momentum and shared commitment to public safety, thriving neighborhoods, educational opportunity, and inclusive growth,” Kenney said in a statement. “We believe this budget has a wide array of essential investments that provide quality services and infrastructure for residents, maintain the city’s fiscal health, reduce racial disparities, and achieve equitable outcomes. I look forward to this budget’s final passage and our city’s bright future.”
The budget would use the city’s revenue surplus to help fund tax cuts and increased spending. Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, a progressive, was the lone vote against the budget due to the business tax cuts, saying the plan’s spending doesn't go far enough to address basic city services and quality-of-life issues
“We can afford $18 million for corporations, but we don’t have $9 million for chronic illegal dumping. We can afford $18 million for corporations, but we don’t have $4 million to keep children safe from reckless drivers around their playgrounds,” Gauthier, of District 3, said.
Councilmember At-Large Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, who proposed a larger wage tax reduction than the Kenney administration, said the cuts will have minimal impact while helping the city’s small businesses.
“With the highest wage tax in the nation, these continued reductions will allow us to further uplift residents and Philadelphia’s small and diverse business communities without sacrificing investments in our communities,” Gilmore-Richardson said in a statement. “This budget puts forth solutions to the challenges residents face on a daily basis. From workforce development and environmental justice to improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods and supporting city workers. We are demonstrating that in order to address the big issues residents face, we must offer bold solutions.”
Upon final approval, the budget will take effect July 1. Here are some key figures:
3.75% wage tax for city residents, down from 3.79%
5.81% net income tax for businesses, down from 5.99%
$55 million increase in Police Department funding
$10 million to hiring bonuses to help fill vacancies in public safety and other hard-to-fill city positions
$3 million for intensive recruitment of police officers
$2.1 million to increase parental leave for city workers from four to six weeks
$5.5 million to improve code enforcement and address illegal dumping
$3 million to expand the use of mobile crisis units staffed by behavioral health providers
$3 million to expand the PHL Taking Care of Business initiative to clean neighborhood commercial corridors
$1 million to expand the use of cameras near neighborhoods, recreation centers and playgrounds
$15 million to upgrade and improve recreation centers
$2.76 million to support environmental justice and climate resiliency
$300,000 to support upskilling and reskilling of residents
$42.2 million to put toward the city’s budget stabilization reserve