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.

 

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.

December 11, 2013

"Pennsylvania’s experience with business tax reduction is instructive," PBPC Director Sharon Ward testified. "Since 1998, the Commonwealth has reduced taxes to the tune of $3 billion annually. These large tax reductions have not had the desired impact. When business tax reductions were first enacted Pennsylvania ranked 27th in job creation. By 2010 we had fallen to 34th."

June 30, 2013

The Philadelphia School District will receive new state funding, but with strings attached that leave some key decisions in the hands of the Secretary of Education.

October 23, 2012

The City of Philadelphia should take steps to recover some of the millions of dollars lost in interest rate swap deals that have proved costly in the wake of the Great Recession, PBPC Director Sharon Ward testified in a Philadelphia City Council hearing.

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