PHILADELPHIA, June 16, 2022 – Last night, City Council voted unanimously on preliminary approval of the FY2023 Budget, which includes, but is not limited to, unprecedented tax reductions in real estate taxes by way of the Homestead Exemption, as well as historic cuts of the resident and non-resident wage taxes, and the Business Income Receipts Tax – often referred to as BIRT. At-Large Councilmembers Derek Green, Isaiah Thomas, Allan Domb, and Katherine Gilmore Richardson, who worked closely on specific aspects of this year’s budget negotiations, shared their perspectives in the following joint statement this afternoon, following the budget’s first reading:
“As elected officials, it our duty to act in the best interests of all Philadelphians, especially at a time of great financial strain due to inflation and rising everyday costs, to help ease some of that burden. We must do what we can to offer some relief to homeowners, as well as small business owners – in particular, Black and Brown entrepreneurs – that were decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and are still struggling to stay afloat,” said Councilmember Green. “Philadelphia has the unfortunate distinction of being the nation’s number-one city with the most burdensome tax structure imposed on businesses. If we want to see our most underserved neighborhoods elevated out of poverty and begin to finally flourish in an equitable way, we must prioritize inclusive growth.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we saw a record number of businesses – predominantly minority-owned – close their doors or relocate to the suburbs,” said Councilmember Thomas. “We need a tax structure that shows businesses and workers that Philly is open for business and with this historic investment in cities through ARPA, now is the only time we can do this. If we want expanded services and projects, we need to find ways to expand our tax base to fund them.”
“As we come out of this pandemic and work to shape a brighter future for our city, focusing on programs that target our service problems, and budgets that promote job growth and opportunity are paramount,” said Councilmember Domb. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to prioritize tax relief for our local businesses and residents at a time when Philadelphians and businesses are feeling financially squeezed from rising prices at every turn.”
“We are at a crucial moment for the future of the City of Philadelphia. We must do all we can to move our city forward, said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson. “As a legislative body, we are demonstrating our commitment to the residents of Philadelphia by ensuring we provide much needed assistance with property tax relief for homeowners by increasing the Homestead Exemption to $80,000, while also supporting and expanding services to our residents by giving them money back in their pockets and supporting our small business community. I want to thank my colleagues for their leadership and collaboration on this important effort.”
The preapproved budget, which must be finalized by June 30, 2022, is slated for second reading and final passage on Thursday, June 23, Council’s last session before summer recess.