This budget cycle, our organizing and the work of our movement partners across the city resulted in a number of significant wins for working people. Increasing the homestead exemption to $80,000 is an enormous win for working class Black and brown homeowners who have seen seismic increases in their property assessments due to inequitable development and rapid gentrification. Similarly, increases to the libraries and parks and recreation budgets represent important investments in shared community resources. This kind of relief is a lifeline for Philadelphians, and would not have happened without pressure from advocates.
For the past thirty years, the Chamber of Commerce and their allies have been pushing the same tired BIRT and wage tax giveaways. It’s an experiment that has failed Philadelphians – taking vital money away from city services that low-income Philadelphians rely on, while failing to deliver targeted relief to working people.
While in previous years the Chamber of Commerce and their allies in City Hall have silently pushed through an agenda that caters to the ultra-wealthy, this year the Chamber was forced to organize harder than ever before to win marginal tax cuts, settled for far less than their original vision, and exposed who in City Hall is beholden to their corporate agenda along the way.
We’ve learned the hard way time and time again that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Until City Hall stops putting corporate profits over Philadelphians, we will continue to see the impacts of outdated trickle-down economics that ravage our communities through cuts and austerity budgets. Until our leaders recognize that they are elected by working people, not a handful of multi-millionaires and billionaires, our libraries, public schools, parks and recreation centers, and mental health services will be forced to fight over scraps. Until we hold every single lobbyist, City Councilmember, and pandemic profiteer accountable to the city that they profit off of, our neighborhoods will continue to be plagued by violence, unaffordable housing, and untenable living conditions. And that’s why we will continue to fight for taxing the rich, funding our city services, and building the city that Philadelphians truly deserve.