No Budget Cuts, No Layoffs: Fully Fund City Services

Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia

City_hall

On May 1st,  the Mayor proposed dramatic and harmful cuts to next year’s city budget. As residents, supporters, and city workers, many of us represented by AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47, as well as seasonal, part-time and non-represented workers, we strongly oppose any layoffs or furloughs of city workers and all budget cuts to city services. Such cuts would harm all 1.6 million Philadelphians and undermine our region’s ability to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Philadelphians always depend on City workers, but even more so during a crisis of public health and the economy. City workers are the emergency responders and health workers who are currently on the front lines of this crisis. They are the social workers and librarians who help so many navigate applying for benefits and jobs, which will be more essential than ever as we pull our city out of this crisis. They are the people who keep our city safe and moving forward, from sanitation workers to the folks who keep our water clean.

City workers are also city residents, the breadwinners of so many households. Laying off or furloughing such workers will further harm the economy, as they and their families are also consumers and taxpayers. Philadelphia is the nation’s poorest big city, and the health impacts and economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionally falling on low-income families and people of color, populations who are highly-represented in the City's workforce.

In the coming weeks, Mayor Kenney and City Council must identify and implement revenue sources that require the wealthiest individuals and institutions to pay their fair share in order to spare working families from these cruel and unnecessary cuts. The City’s current tax structure was adopted to attract big businesses and high-income earners. Philadelphia is home to fifteen Fortune 500 companies and an influx of millionaires who generously benefit from tax breaks and loopholes. Working families should not bear the burden of this public health crisis.

We need to tax the rich. We demand that the City reform its tax code so that wealthy and large institutions pay their fair share. Mayor Kenney and City Council must:

  • Advocate for further federal stimulus funding above the $276m CARES Act, to fully fund municipalities in this crisis

  • Reinstate PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) for wealthy educational and cultural institutions.

  • Institute common-sense tax reform on high-profit businesses, for example: fully ending the property tax abatement program, canceling cuts to the Business Income & Receipts Tax and the City wage tax, and increasing the realty transfer tax

  • Increase taxes on large landlords and real estate investors

  • Use the Rainy Day Fund, which currently has $429 million for emergencies

  • Advocate for closure of the “Delaware loophole” by the State of Pennsylvania

City workers are needed more than ever during this public health crisis, especially because of the accompanying economic tailspin and explosion of unemployment. We stand with Philadelphia city workers!

Budget cuts, layoffs, and furloughs will increase the number of people who desperately need help, while slashing the number of people providing that help.

We implore Mayor Kenney and City Council to recognize that another way forward is possible.

Petition by
Philly City Workers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

To: Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia
From: [Your Name]

On May 1st, we anticipate that you will propose dramatic and harmful cuts to next year’s city budget. As city workers, the majority of us represented by AFSCME District Councils 33 and 47, as well as seasonal, part-time and non-represented workers, we strongly any oppose layoffs or furloughs of city workers and all budget cuts to city services. Such cuts would harm all 1.6 million Philadelphians and undermine our region’s ability to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Philadelphians always depend on City workers, but even more so during a crisis of public health and the economy. We are the emergency responders and health workers who are currently on the front lines of this crisis. We are the social workers and librarians who help so many navigate applying for benefits and jobs, which will be more essential than ever as we pull our city out of this crisis. We are the people who keep our city safe and moving forward, from sanitation workers to the folks who keep our water clean.

City workers are also city residents, the breadwinners of so many households. Laying off or furloughing workers like us will further harm the economy, as we and our families are also consumers and taxpayers. Philadelphia is the nation’s poorest big city, and the health impacts and economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionally falling on low-income families and people of color, populations who are highly-represented in the City's workforce.

In the coming weeks, you must must identify and implement revenue sources that require the wealthiest individuals and institutions to pay their fair share in order to spare working families from these cruel and unnecessary cuts. The City’s current tax structure was adopted to attract big businesses and high-income earners. Philadelphia is home to fifteen Fortune 500 companies and an influx of millionaires who generously benefit from tax breaks and loopholes. Working families should not bear the burden of this public health crisis.

We need to tax the rich. We demand that the City reform its tax code so that wealthy and large institutions pay their fair share. You and City Council must:

- Advocate for further federal stimulus funding above the $276m CARES Act, to fully fund municipalities in this crisis
- Reinstate PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) for wealthy educational and cultural institutions.
- Institute common-sense tax reform on high-profit businesses, for example: fully ending the property tax abatement program, canceling cuts to the Business Income & Receipts Tax and the City wage tax, and increasing the realty transfer tax
- Increase taxes on landlords and real estate investors
- Use the Rainy Day Fund, which currently has $429 million for emergencies
- Advocate for closure of the “Delaware loophole” by the State of Pennsylvania

City workers are needed more than ever during this public health crisis, especially because of the accompanying economic tailspin and explosion of unemployment. Budget cuts, layoffs, and furloughs will increase the number of people who desperately need help, while slashing the number of people providing that help. We implore you and City Council to recognize that another way forward is possible.