Philadelphia, March 1, 2018 – City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) on Thursday issued the following statement on Mayor Jim Kenney’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal:
“Mayor Kenney today laid out a vision for Philadelphia on which there is broad consensus on the goals, but much debate to come on the fairest and surest paths to achieve them. In the weeks ahead, I anticipate a great deal of discussion on key components of this proposed budget.
“Every Philadelphian who has advocated for greater accountability from the School District of Philadelphia – and I include myself – must accept the moral and fiscal responsibility that comes with local control of our schools. Mayor Kenney’s proposed funding increase for the District will be debated by Council just as voters contemplate reauthorization of an independent and accountable Philadelphia Board of Education to assume the place of the state-controlled School Reform Commission ahead of the May primary election. We know from a prior election that Philadelphians overwhelmingly support local control. Now we must do the difficult work of building consensus on how best to help the District resolve a massive structural deficit not of local government’s making.
“Philadelphia public school students and educators deserve no less than students and educators in any other town or county in Pennsylvania.
Returning accountability to local residents must – and this is not negotiable – be accompanied by commensurate state funding and education reforms that districts across the Commonwealth have long been owed. City Council has consistently advocated for restoration of charter school reimbursements cut under the Corbett administration and for real reform of what have been called the worst charter school regulations in the nation. As we assume greater responsibility over our schools, we must also significantly shore up our collective advocacy on their behalf.
“Council has a fiduciary obligation to examine the revenue assumptions built into this proposal, and to ensure continued stability and fairness for taxpayers. Today, I introduced legislation that would preserve the current schedule for wage tax reductions, because Philadelphians who rely on a paycheck deserve some predictability and relief. We also cannot ignore negative housing affordability trends, and will work to build a more fair and equitable housing and development environment into the final budget.
“I encourage everyone who lives and works in the City of Philadelphia to review Mayor Kenney’s budget proposal and to participate in City Council’s public hearings. Whether the challenge that matters to you most is poverty, public education, employment, or health care, there is no question that we can only conquer them if we work together. I look forward to deliberating the best path forward to the strong future all Philadelphians deserve.“
The City Council FY2019 budget hearings schedule will be finalized and released next week.
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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