Philadelphia, March 7, 2019 – Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday issued the following statement on Mayor Jim Kenney’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal:
“The operating and capital investment plan proposed by Mayor Kenney reflects where Philadelphia is today: A City that is benefiting from significant growth, attracting new businesses and residents, but still facing generational challenges, particularly violence and poverty. In a tale as old as time, health and prosperity are not distributed evenly across the City, perpetuating stubborn demographic inequities.
“But as Mayor Kenney indicated, we have the privilege of confronting these challenges from positions of relative strength. Because of responsible reforms and planning decisions made over the past two decades to improve our finances and credit rating, we in City government are in a better position to aggressively address inequities, public health epidemics, and injustices.
“I’m pleased by Mayor Kenney’s ongoing commitment to education, from early childhood learning through community college. This budget proposal also addresses the so-called growing pains of our City, and the bread-and-butter commitment to road maintenance and anti-dumping measures is most welcome.
“As Council members and staff review the full proposed budget package and prepare questions for public hearings, we will expect responses to our concerns about resources and conditions of library and recreation center facilities; unhealthy and unsafe conditions in School District of Philadelphia buildings; gun violence prevention and crime reduction; and managing growth and development in a fair and equitable way.
“On Tuesday, Council released an independent analysis of poverty in Philadelphia — by far our most significant challenge. Every City department and agency head must be prepared to explain their contributions to our overall effort to reduce and prevent poverty, and to explain how they plan to use appropriated funds in Fiscal Year 2020 to further move the needle toward poverty reduction.
“Earlier today, Council put forth the first legislative responses to our ‘Narrowing the Gap’ report:
- Affordable Housing Mandate on public land sold for redevelopment
- Landlord Accountability to require landlords to prove rental suitability certification in eviction actions and to authorize the creation of a Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund
- Fair Chance Housing to prohibit landlords from screening and denying prospective tenants for crimes except for sexual assault
- Affordable Rental Housing Tax Credit to incentivize leasing to low-income tenants
- Rental Listings Accountability requiring listing services to record and report rental license numbers with each advertised unit
“I look forward to working with Council colleagues and the Kenney Administration on additional legislative and policy proposals, including amendments to next year’s budget, to make measurable gains against poverty and to ensure every neighborhood in Philadelphia is a community of choice.”
The Council FY2020 budget hearings schedule will be finalized and released next week, and posted on PHLCouncil.com.
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