“Mayor Kenney’s $4.4 billion spending plan appears to meet our City’s needs and does not include property tax increases, and for that, he and his team should be commended. The City has steadily lowered wage and other business taxes over more than two decades, and the next fiscal year should continue that trend.
“I also welcome proposed new investments toward supportive housing to prevent homelessness; increased support for foster families and the Child Welfare unit of the Department of Human Services; and expanded employment and skills training for young people and those who have been involved with the criminal justice system.
“This budget proposal reflects many of the stated concerns of City Council and the people we represent. For instance, we have urged the Administration to address high overtime costs by making personnel investments. Proposed appropriations for the Philadelphia Fire Department to increase staffing, including for Emergency Medical Services, should rein in overtime spending and bolster public safety.
“But when the City expands employment opportunities, it must do so equitably. Enhanced and targeted job growth in challenged communities help address inequality and provide countless secondary benefits, particularly as relates to crime and recidivism. I will also continue to urge the Administration to make meaningful investments in our neighborhood commercial corridors. In the coming weeks, City Council members and staff will examine this proposed budget through the lens of racial and economic equity, as we do every year.
“I look forward to robust and respectful engagement with my colleagues, Mayor Kenney, and Administration officials during the budget hearings process beginning later this month.”
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Council President Darrell L. Clarke is serving his second term as the President of Philadelphia City Council. He represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District. More information at phlcouncil.com/DarrellClarke