Philadelphia Budget

Last year, Mayor Jim Kenney boldly called for the School Reform Commission (SRC) to be disbanded and for control over our schools to be returned to the city. In doing so, he took on the responsibility to pay for schools at a time when growing deficits are expected over the next five years. 

We at PBPC have long argued that the education of Philadelphians shouldn't be a responsibility of the city alone. Not just Philadelphia but the entire commonwealth suffers because the state share of education funding has fallen from almost 50% to less than 35% of total funding.  

The tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) proposed by Mayor Kenney, also known as the “soda tax,” is controversial mainly because, like other sales taxes, it takes a greater share of the income of poor families than rich ones. However, while the costs of the soda tax fall more heavily on those with low incomes, more of the benefit of the tax will go to low-income Philadelphians as well, for two reasons:

The first benefit of the tax flows from how the new revenue will be spent — on pre-K education, community schools, and parks and community recreation centers. Pre-K education helps kids from low- and moderate-income families have a better start in life. Studies have shown that children who attend pre-K programs score higher on academic tests and that these benefits are greater for those whose families have lower incomes. And the effects of Pre-K education are long lasting: long-term studies have shown that those who receive Pre-K education have higher IQs at age 5, have higher high school graduation rates, are more likely to own a home and have higher incomes at age 40.

 

On Thursday afternoon the official Twitter feed for the Pennsylvania House Republicans began circulating an infographic noting that Philadelphia would get 32 percent of the increase in school funding proposed by Gov. Wolf and asked the question “Do you want to pay a huge tax hike to support that plan?”

August 15, 2014

Several American cities have raised cigarette taxes as a public health measure and to generate local revenue for cash-strapped programs. These taxes are not as regressive as once assumed and can be an important part of a local funding package. Philadelphia has requested authorization from the General Assembly to add a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes sold in the city to raise an estimated $70-$90 million  for its public schools.

Here is how the Senate budget proposal works out on paper - including program funding levels.  We will have commentary and analysis of this later today.

March 17, 2014

A coalition of education advocates joined forces recently to call on Philadelphia City Council to provide $195 million in sustainable local funding to the city's school district next year.

February 26, 2014

A study identifying marriage as a factor in growing income inequality — specifically, the marriage of highly educated people to other highly educated people (resulting in higher incomes) — is a great example of "misdirection," Mark Price writes.

December 20, 2013

A group of Philadelphia education advocates issued a year-end report card to Philadelphia City Council and the Pennsylvania General Assembly on their work to fully fund the Philadelphia public schools.

Monthly archive