Great News On All Reform Fronts

There is great news to report about the push for reform in Philadelphia on many fronts.  A number of councilmember who had been voting against measures to phase-out the job-killing Business Privilege Tax now agree that we CAN afford tax reform (Council will vote on legislation on business tax reform in December); City Council appears to be taking a deliberate and intelligent approach to considering Real Estate Tax Reform issues; and the historic vote in favor of ethics reform on November 8th raises hopes that additional ethics reform measures will move smoothly through City Council (Council will vote hearings on more ethics reform in December).

Great Reform News -- Business Tax Debate Now Focuses On How, Not If!

A number of other Councilmembers who have previously voted against legislation to phase out the job-killing Business Privilege Tax have come out in favor of significant reductions to the awful levy, recognizing that the city CAN afford tax reform, but it CANNOT afford to continue to lose jobs and lag economically. 

Now the debate should focus on whether we should cut taxes on a year-by-year basis or legislate a multi-year schedule.  Philadelphia Forward supports legislating the cuts in a multi-year schedule.  Employers make decisions looking into the future so the more we can do to give them certainty about what they can expect in the future, the more likely they are to make decisions to move to, or remain in, Philadelphia.  Similarly, since the city already budgets future revenues in a five-year window, as long as the revenue figures in the Five-Year Plan will reflect planned future reductions, there is no compelling reason why at least the first five years of the phase out should not be legislated.  If, in the future, there is a reason to change course, City Council could simply alter the schedule legislatively just as the General Assembly twice paused the scheduled the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.


Will City Council deliver?  Contact City Council today to tell your elected officials that we can afford tax reform...we cannot afford to maintain high and unfair taxes.

Great Reform News -- Real Estate Tax Debate Now Focuses On Fairness

City Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced a number of bills to help make our system of real estate taxation toward fair and understandable in a relatively painless way.  These recent pieces of legislation, combined with the package of bills put forward by the Tax Reform Commission represent a feasible plan for reform.  This approach is heartening since just last week some on City Council were suggesting that the system has been broken for so long that we shouldn't rush to fix it at all.  Instead, it appears as if City Council will work to fix what is wrong with real estate taxation so we can move to a fair and understandable system in the most painless manner possible.

Great Reform News -- Historic Ethics Vote Lays Groundwork For More Progress

On November 8, 2005, Philadelphians voted overwhelmingly to change the City Charter to help end the pay-to-play system by prohibiting major campaign contributors from receiving no-bid city contracts.  After a campaign led by Philadelphia Forward, the organizations and individuals of the Reformers' Roundtable, and others energized the electorate, the vote was historic, setting records for support and participation for a ballot question.

City Council will now consider additional reforms including implementing a Board of Ethics with the power to enforce ethics rules and further limits on how contributors can benefit from government action.  Philadelphia Forward  and our Philadelphians for Ethics Reform partners will continue our efforts to promote measures to ensure that the city government works for the general public and not just for the special interests.