If we are going to build a better Philadelphia, we need better government
We can budget better. Our current budgeting procedures were established in 1951 and are in desperate need of revision with 21st-century budgeting practices. I will work with city council to establish an independent budget office to impartially and accurately establish a city revenue estimate, like the Congressional Budget Office. I support line-item budgeting to provide city council and tax payers with detailed online information about the $5 billion general fund budget. And I will require the city to publish a year-end budget report so we can match actual spending with the original budget estimates. The goal is to be more transparent so citizens compare exactly where their money is going and where we promised it would go.
Better budgeting means better government. Given our surplus and tax revenues which are exceeding projections, we can end the regressive Soda Tax and establish universal Pre-K because ALL of our children need help, not just a handpicked, connected few.
We afford to repave our streets and clean our neighborhoods. We can afford to fully staff our libraries and recreation centers so our communities can thrive.
We must give our schools more resources by demanding a state funding formula that takes poverty into account providing all of our schools with the support they deserve. The formula should also provides fair and adequate public-charter reimbursement, and includes increased local funding. Additionally, it is long past time for the state to assume its legal responsibility to fund city court costs and we should leverage the strong Democratic majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to relieve the city of more than $100 million in expenditures that could be used to fund public education.
We will declare a state of emergency on violence to best marshal and coordinate all city agencies. At the same time, we can convene and provide appropriate funds for a plan to integrate grassroots anti-violence activists to help stem the bloodshed.
Fair taxes and assessment refunds
All of this is predicated on a fair system of taxation to fund our needs without chasing families and firms out of the city. We need to more aggressively reduce the city Wage Tax and job-killing business taxes so Philadelphia can grow more like competitor cities to drive down our shameful poverty rate. We need to get our regressive and illegal city assessments right so real estate taxes are fair and reasonable. And we need to make sure that the city refunds money to taxpayers who have paid too much.
I have spent a career in public service listening to people and building coalitions to get things done. I want to listen to Philadelphia and work with Philadelphians to make the change we need.
We can move Philly forward — together.
Better Budgeting For A Better Philadelphia
Philadelphia deserves more information about city spending. We can budget better so we can make better decisions. Philadelphia’s financial systems were designed for the 1950s. We deserve modern, accountable, and transparent government budgetary systems.
Establish an independent local budget office similar to the congressional budget office to estimate city budget revenues to avoid overly optimistic (or pessimistic) revenue estimates by the mayoral administration.
Adopt line-item budgeting to detail proposed expenditures to give city council and the public real authority over city spending.
Change the city charter to require five-year budgets and financial plans in detail that both citizens and council members can understand.
Require the mayor to produce a programmatic expression of the city budget and issue a report card on city services to track outcomes and citizen satisfaction.
Require a comprehensive year-end report to detail how much of each line item in the budget was actually spent and to articulate the progress our city has made toward achieving outcome goals set forth at the beginning of the yearly budget process.
Utilize sunset provisions in contracts and programs to ensure that the city finds worth in its spending and does not continue initiatives past their effectiveness.
Require comprehensive and real-time, line-item online budget and contract details with a goal toward making available all information the city is required to provide pursuant to a valid right-to-know law request.
Publish a comprehensive economic-development plan that considers tax policy, infrastructure investments, arts and culture spending, and the leverage of city-owned utility and transportation assets to reach targeted employment goals.
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