PHILADELPHIA (March 4, 2015) – Today, Helen Gym attended the Mayor’s annual budget address in which he announced roughly $100 million in local funding for schools. Gym lauded the overall effort and said City Council had to lead with progressive solutions to fill a requested $300 million school funding bill.

Gym tweeted her reactions to the Mayor’s proposal which can be read here: https://twitter.com/HelenGym2015 and issued the following statement:

”I support Superintendent Hite’s call to find $100 million of local funding to restore the most basic services back to our public schools. I’ll need to take a look at the details of Mayor Nutter’s proposal, though we must all agree that our schools need more funding today. For years, I have proposed common sense solutions which could help the city meet its obligations without an undue burden on Philadelphia’s working families. I urge Mayor Nutter to consider these solutions and restore funding to our schools in a manner that does not lay the entire burden on homeowners.”

Gym continued, “More than ever, Philadelphians need elected leaders who take a consistent, common sense approach that prioritizes schools, but also keeps our city working for homeowners, families, and our seniors. When I am elected to city council, voters can trust that I will be a consistent voice fighting for our schools and neighborhoods.”

Helen Gym’s proposals include:

1.      A shift in the proportional distribution of property taxes from a 55 percent share to schools to the 2007 norm of 60 percent to schools. This would result in over $75 million for schools and would not cause any undue tax burden on middle-class homeowners.

2.      Support a more progressive Use & Occupancy tax that will exempt small businesses and place a fair share standard on larger businesses, many of whom saw significant property tax decreases under AVI. (Total: $50+ million estimated in 2013)

3.      Support a strategic approach to real estate abatements, rather than a blanket policy around them.

4.      Call upon the City’s largest non-profit giants to revive the City’s once thriving Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. ($15-20 million)

5.      Ensure that profits from the pending sale of 45 new taxicab medallions go toward the Parking Authority’s City/School District profit-sharing arrangement. The PPA seeks to allocate tens of millions of dollars for its own use in a newly created fund not subject to the profit-sharing arrangement. (Total: $22 million, plus more in future years)

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