For Immediate Release: April 30, 2012
Contact: Anne Gemmell, 267-850-0891 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Philadelphia – Today, a growing coalition of local faith, labor and progressive organizations weighed in on the city’s budget debates with a City Hall press conference to launch a campaign to preserve the Cohen Wage Tax Credit and call upon Mayor Nutter to demand the corporate community pair its fair share.
“We need to reverse the trend of tax reform that takes more and more of the tax burden away from corporations and places more and more of the tax burden on citizens. Mayor Nutter’s current plans for the Gross Receipts Tax and the Cohen Ordinance are examples of this unacceptable trend,” said Aaron Troisi of Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy. “In a city where people are struggling to get by, provide for their families, and ensure strong communities; in a city that closes schools and libraries, cancels programs for youth, and cuts services in our neighborhoods; it is outrageous and unacceptable that corporations are allowed to NOT pay their fair share of taxes.”
The Fair Share Coalition asked the Mayor to protect the working poor by maintaining the Cohen ordinance. Instead of eliminating this progressive wage tax, the city’s revenue challenge should be partly addressed by making corporations pay their fair share through an increase in the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT). The coalition’s proposal includes an exemption for small business.
“Our question today: Do the commercial and business communities of this city pay their fair share of taxes? We suspect they do not, and this is why 32BJ stands with the Fair Share Coalition,” said Victor Rosado, Political Director of SEIU 32BJ. “We want to be a part of the conversation to create a fair tax structure in this city that can maintain fairness for fairness’ sake – but to raise enough revenue to provide the basic and essential services that civilization requires.”
The “Cohen Ordinance,” passed by the late Councilman Cohen in 2004, provided tax relief to low-income workers: A three person family in Philadelphia earning $25,500 would have been eligible for gradually increasing rebates of .5%, until the family was paying a wage tax of only 1.5%. However, Mayor Nutter has been successfully watering down this ordinance since 2008, and is now seeking to eliminate it entirely.
Now, more than ever, asking more of working families while planning tax breaks for big corporations should not be an option for the city. As next year’s city budget is developed, the Fair Share Coalition will continue to deliver the message that the budget cannot be balanced on the backs of the working poor and most vulnerable – but that everyone must pay their fair share, especially big corporations.
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