A Growing Economy That Benefits Everyone

We need economic policies that create a growing, thriving economy for Philadelphians, by Philadelphians, with rising wages and with everyone contributing their fair share to a functioning city government.

Set the right climate for attracting business. The key to creating a climate where job creation flourishes starts with our schools and our city services, not simply slashing business taxes. As your Councilwoman, I will focus on competent, clean and efficient public transportation and “complete streets,” first-class parks and recreation facilities, and transparent and responsive government. This is what will keep middle class families here, what will provide businesses with a vibrant, skilled workforce, and what will keep our city growing as a place where people want to live, work, raise their families and contribute to the vibrant civic, economic and social life that makes our city great.

Encourage our local businesses and MBEs to grow. Small and local businesses are the true drivers of our city’s economy. I will better ensure that our policies work for them. We must set goals and keep a public focus to expand contracting opportunities for minority business enterprise growth in the city. The Sustainable Business Network has suggested a number of ways to help local businesses, by increasing local businesses’ bidding preferences for city contracts, creating better partnerships between government and small business, and reviewing existing regulations to make sure they work, are cost-effective and provide measurable results.

Raise wages and benefits in the public and private sector. Although Harrisburg sets a minimum wage, as your Councilwoman I will lead on this issue by:

  • Working toward a 21st Century minimum wage for all city contractors and subcontractors;
  • Reviewing and setting standards for minimum wage improvements for all companies receiving tax benefits from the city; and
  • Standing with low-wage workers when they fight for decent wages, be it in the public sector or private.

Make Philadelphia taxes more fair.  We must continue to make Philadelphia’s business taxes better targeted and more progressive through the creative use of exemptions that benefit small and local businesses and ensure that larger, profitable businesses pay their fair share. One area I would prioritize is structuring exemptions on the Use and Occupancy tax to provide some relief for small businesses and ensure that larger businesses pay toward an expanded share of school funding after receiving sizable property tax breaks under AVI reform.

Emphasize the certainty of tax collection and help those who are struggling. The history of tax collection in our city is poor and well-documented and deprives our city and schools of desperately needed revenue. Beyond that, it creates distrust in government by those who are paying and encourages those with means to leave our city. I will act smartly and aggressively to make sure that businesses and homeowners pay their fair share of taxes. I will improve outreach efforts to educate delinquent homeowners about the availability of tax payment plans to place them back into active paying status. We are all in this together, and for Philadelphia to grow and flourish, each one of us must contribute to a government for all.

Fund programs that help Philadelphians maintain economically-independent, productive lives. As your Councilwoman, I will increase city support for those programs that help Philadelphians help themselves, recycle money back through our economy, and prevent us from having to spend more money down the road.  For example, the successful Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program not only helps our neighbors, but keeps a home occupied and in taxpaying status, protects home values of surrounding properties, and prevents city resources from being expended on emergency homelessness services or vacant property enforcement. Similarly, when we support Financial Empowerment Centers or help working-class Philadelphians file their taxes for free, we make sure Philadelphians can keep as many dollars from their paychecks as possible.

Avoid short-term solutions that damage our city in the long-run.  Philadelphia is often presented with quick-fix solutions to our budget problems that sound simple but in fact, limit opportunities and potentially damage our City in the long run. Some candidates, for example, have suggested that we should sell tax liens—that is, package all of our tax delinquencies and sell them off to a private company to collect and foreclose on them—in order to fund our schools. To do so would, among other things, end the ability of the Land Bank to function before it even started. Vacant properties that the City could once clear of tax liens and package for redevelopment would now be frozen by private companies who bought those liens for pennies on the dollar. Thus, redevelopment in many parts of our city would be stopped before it ever started.  We must resist these short term solutions, and look at where we want our City to be in five, ten and twenty years from now.