April 2013

Fight for Philly and One Philadelphia To Deliver Tax Petitions To Council and Mayor In Call For School Funding

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jesse Kudler

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

 

Fight for Philly and One Philadelphia to deliver tax petitions to Council and Mayor in call for school funding

Philadelphia, PA – Fight for Philly and the One Philadelphia Coalition will attend Tuesday’s City Council public hearing on the public schools budget to demand fair taxes and adequate school funding.  Fight for Philly members will testify about the need to raise revenue to guarantee a quality education for all residents of the city.  The coalition will then drop petitions calling for policies to ensure that working families and lower-income people are not hurt by the Actual Value Initiative and that large corporations and property-owners contribute their fair share to Philadelphia’s schools, parks, public workers, firefighters, and city services. Approximately 1,500 Philadelphia residents have signed the petitions.  The initiatives the group is calling for include:

Make AVI truly fair.  Property tax “reform” places more burden on homeowners, renters and the most vulnerable rather than big corporate landlords. The group will call for enacting Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez’s Use and Occupancy (U&O) tax reform bill. It restores fairness to our property tax code by balancing the burden between corporate landlords and the rest of us.

-No more free pass.  Councilman Wilson Goode’s abatement reform bill cuts the 10-year property tax “free pass” to 5 years. This is fair to both long-time residents and “the new, the few and well-to do.” including corporate developers.

-Make mega non-profits pay taxes on their profitable commercial property and contribute fair “good neighbor” payments for city services from which they benefit.

Freeze proposed city wage tax reductions that would keep millions of dollars in the hands of the wealthiest instead of city coffers while giving the average family only a tiny tax break.

Activists will unfurl hundreds of pages of petition signatures in City Council during the hearing as a Fight for Philly member testifies.  The petitions say, “Make Big Business and Big “Non-Profits” Pay their fair share in Philadelphia and stop shifting the tax burden to our Homeowners, Tenants and Working People!”  They will then deliver the petitions to Mayor Nutter’s office.

 

WHO: Fight for Philly, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Action United, PCAPS, Casino Free Philadelphia, MoveOn Philadelphia Council, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Liberty Resources, Neighborhood Networks, Jobs with Justice, AFSCME DC 33 and 47, PHARE.
WHAT: Delivery of petitions demanding fair taxes for our schools and city.
WHEN: Tuesday April 30, 1pm.
WHERE: City Council Chambers
VISUAL: Petition drop, speakers, diverse crowd of supporters, signs.

 

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Fight for Philly is building a grassroots coalition of residents, community groups, neighborhood associations, faith organizations and labor groups united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability and strong communities.

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

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Oppose Governor Corbett’s Tax Giveaway to Big Corporations!

photo(3)Fight for Philly has recently been raising the alarm about Gov. Corbett’s newest tax proposal, which is a big gift to huge corporations at the expense of most of Pennsylvania’s citizens.  Over the past decade, Pennsylvania has given tax cuts to profitable corporations that have drained resources from schools and health care, while failing to produce jobs.  These tax cuts have robbed our schools and communities. In 2013, tax cuts cost $3 billion.  That is a third of what the state pays for Pennsylvania public schools.  Here in Philly, we’re facing massive shortages in the school budget, even after 23 schools are planned to close.  And now, the governor wants to cut taxes on corporations ever further!

Sharon Ward at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has all the details of the governor’s plan here, but here’s a summary:

MORE OF THE SAME

Governor Corbett is proposing a tax “reform” plan that is a big new cut to profitable corporations without closing tax loopholes.

The proposal:

  • Cut taxes to profitable corporations by 30%.

  • Locks in tax cuts even when we can’t afford them. The proposal forces future General Assemblies to make the tax cuts and spending cuts, even when the economy is in recession.

  • Puts out-of- state companies before kids, seniors, our hospitals, libraries and communities. Big profitable corporations are first in line. They get their tax cuts even if it means more cuts to schools, throwing more kids and working people off health coverage or fewer home-based services for seniors, or higher tuition at public colleges.

  • Creates few jobs. Over the next decade, the tax plan costs grow to more than $800 million per year, but would reduce Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate from 8.1% to 8.0%.

  • Does nothing to close corporate tax loopholes.  Rewards companies that game the system.  Pennsylvania companies are at a disadvantage to big multi-state companies that can hide income—this bill turns a blind eye to loopholes and rewards those companies that abuse loopholes.

  • For most corporations, it won’t produce any jobs. Even when the rate drops to 6.99% (2025), most corporations will get a tax break of $4,200 or less, not enough to create a single job.

  • The big, profitable corporations are winners. The top 1% of corporate filers will receive 80% of the tax cuts. These companies have operations across the country and around the world and will put their tax windfall from Pennsylvania into new businesses and new jobs all over the world – or in dividends to their shareholders.

  • Drives up local property taxes by underfunding our schools.

WE CAN’T AFFORD NEW TAX CUTS THAT DON’T CREATE JOBS AND INCREASE OUR PROPERTY TAXES.  

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“Time and time again, the governor chooses to favor large corporations …”

harrisburgLast week, Fight for Philly members went to Harrisburg to protest Governor Corbett’s disgusting new tax proposal, which would give even more breaks to big corporations.

With Governor Corbett away in Brazil with his business cronies scouting “business opportunities,” taxpayers protested at the state Capitol against the governor’s proposal to give hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax giveaways to rich corporations without closing tax loopholes. The expensive plan would likely force deeper cuts to public schools, higher education, hospitals, libraries and communities in future years.  By locking-in the tax giveaways for businesses, the plan puts out-of-state corporations before the needs of children, seniors and vital human services.

Fight for Philly member Sylana Christopher addressed the crowd at the Rotunda, saying “Time and time again, the governor chooses to favor large corporations and put profits ahead of our children, seniors, and working families. These tax cuts have drained resources from schools and health care while failing to produce jobs. We can’t afford new tax cuts that hurt kids and do nothing to create jobs. Shame on you, Governor Corbett!”

The protestors bashed the governor’s tax proposal for failing to address job creation or close the “Delaware loophole,” which has already cost the state millions of dollars. Past business tax breaks have failed to create jobs. The state’s unemployment rate is still higher than the national average, with Pennsylvania ranking 34th out of 50 states in its unemployment rate.

“For Gov. Corbett, tax reform means people pay more and corporations pay less. Every dollar that Corbett gives away in corporate tax breaks is a dollar the people and small businesses have to make up,” said Philadelphian Robert Choice, who also addressed the crowd to encourage the governor to accept the federal Medicaid expansion.

After the rally at the Rotunda, protestors made their way to Governor Corbett’s office to deliver a petition demanding he close corporate loopholes, delay corporate tax cuts, and expand Medicaid.

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One Philadelphia Urges Nutter to Enforce “Good Neighbors” Policy

wells fargo

One Philadelphia, a broad coalition united for fairness in property tax reform, wage taxes, and tax collections in the city, released a letter urging Mayor Nutter to enforce a law requiring charitable organizations to pay property taxes on commercial property.  We’re asking large non-profits to be “Good Neighbors.”

Fight for Philly, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Action United, MoveOn Philadelphia Council, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Liberty Resources, PCAPS, Neighborhood Networks, Jobs with Justice, AFSCME DC 33 and 47, and PHARE  are asking Mayor Nutter to enforce the law, which could generate an additional $10 to 15 million in property taxes to the city every year.

Here is what One Philadelphia asked from the Mayor:

Dear Mayor Nutter,

As you know, we are a city in crisis. For the past few years, our schools and essential services have suffered as a result of budget shortfalls. We the undersigned believe that everyone needs to pay their fair share so that our city can resolve this crisis. Yet according to a recent PhillyPlan/Inquirer study, the nonprofits that own 10.8% of property in Philadelphia pay nothing in property taxes due to now ­obsolete tax exemptions. Every year, tax exemptions cost our city $528 million in lost revenue. That’s why we are calling on you today to make sure that large nonprofits pay their fair share, as required under Philadelphia tax law in light of the Pike County State Supreme Court decision.

This April, in its Pike County decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that all property ­owning nonprofits must demonstrate that they qualify as charitable under the 5­ prong HUP test in order to qualify for property tax exemption. Under the Philadelphia City Charter, that means that your administration is legally required to issue tax assessments to all property­ holding nonprofits before this December.

Many nonprofits will still qualify as charitable, and will simply need to take a few moments to file for property tax exemption under the new rules. We have no quarrel with property tax exemptions for houses of worship, or for important services like health clinics, emergency rooms, educational facilities, and other important properties used to serve the public good. But when nonprofits lease their property to for ­profit corporations, let vacant land lie fallow, or run for ­profit enterprises like parking garages and hotels, your administration not only should but is legally required to tax those properties at their most recently assessed value.

Mayor Nutter, we are calling on you not only to pledge to do what is right, but to pledge to do what is legally required of your office. We call on you to issue tax assessments to all nonprofits this December, regardless of past (now obsolete) exemptions. We call on you to help us save this city by issuing these assessments and using them to lessen the property tax burden on homeowners and fund essential services, including our schools.

Respectfully,
Bishop Dwayne Royster, Living Water United Church of Christ
Reverend Jesse Brown, Lutheran Church
Philadelphia Teacher Action GroupPete Matthews,President, AFSCME District Council 33
Cathy Scott, President, AFSCME Disctrict Council 47
Kahim Boles, President, AFSCME Local 2187
Louise Carpino, President, AFSCME Local 590
Paul Dannenfelser, President, AFSCME Local 1723
John Braxton, President, Faculty Federation of CCP (AFT)
Art Hochner, President, TAUP (AFT)
Bill Gault, IAFF Local 22
Louise Carpino, President, AFSCME Local 810
Kahim Boles, President, AFSCME Local 2187
Anne Gemmell, Political Director, Fight for Philly

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One Philadelphia, a growing coalition, is united for tax fairness in Philadelphia

521640_413621675317502_1259273509_nOne Philadelphia, a growing coalition, is united for a fair tax system in Philadelphia.  Stand with us on Thursday, June 6th to deliver  tax fairness petitions to Mayor Nutter and Council members.  Our campaign supports fair proposals to raise revenue for the schools, parks, firefighters, public workers, and many desperately needed city services. Join us because the mayor and corporate interests are strong, very organized, and seemingly indifferent to regular working people. In addition to supporting a fair collection of hundreds of millions in delinquent property taxes, we want to:

Make AVI truly fair. AVI property tax “reform” places more burden on homeowners, renters and the most vulnerable rather than big corporate landlords. We need to get AVI right and enact Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez’s U & O tax reform bill. It restores fairness to our property tax code by balancing the burden between corporate landlords and the rest of us. It also exempts or reduces the burden on a majority of mom and pop businesses. It could raise as much as $80 million in revenue.

Cut the free pass. Enact Councilman Goode’s property tax abatement reform bill. It cuts the 10 year property tax “free pass” to 5 years. This is fair to both long-time residents and “the new, the few and well-to do,” aka corporate developers.

Are they REALLY non-profits? Let’s make mega “non-profits” pay taxes on their profitable property and contribute fair “good neighbor” payments for city services from which they benefit. This could result in millions of needed dollars.

The Richest folks are FINE.  Mayor Nutter wants to give millions away in wage tax reductions, asking the next city leaders to deal with a gaping shortfall and likely more austerity. Instead, we need to freeze the wage tax reductions and make them careful year-to-year decisions after we know we can afford it and when the recession is over for us all.

Join Us! Add your organization to One Philadelphia along with Fight for Philly, Move On, Neighborhood Networks, Liberty Resources, Jobs with Justice, AFSCME, and PHARE. Then, stand with us on Thursday, June 6th as we march to City Hall.

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Press Conference To Call for Fair Property Tax Reform and No Wage Tax Cuts or the Rich

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jesse Kudler

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

 

Fight for Philly and other groups launch One Philadelphia coalition

and tax fairness campaign

 

Press conference will call for fair property tax reform and no wage tax cuts for the rich

Philadelphia, PA – Fight for Philly, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Action United, MoveOn Philadelphia Council, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Liberty Resources, PCAPS, Neighborhood Networks, Jobs with Justice, AFSCME DC 33 and 47, PHARE, and other groups will hold a press conference today to announce a new coalition, One Philadelphia, and its campaign for tax fairness in the city of Philadelphia.  The group will announce a broad coalition united for fairness in property tax reform, wage taxes, and tax collections in the city, insisting that everyone pair their fair share.  The press conference will be at 4pm in the 4th floor Caucus Room at City Hall.

One Philadelphia will also announce a petition drive calling on Mayor Nutter “to make big businesses and mega non-profits pay their fair share in Philadelphia and stop shifting the tax burden to our homeowners, tenants and working people!”

The group is urging action on specific policies to ensure that working families and lower-income people are not hurt by the Actual Value Initiative and that large corporations and property-owners contribute their fair share to Philadelphia’s schools, parks, public workers, firefighters, and city services.  The initiatives the group is calling for include:

Make AVI truly fair.  Property tax “reform” places more burden on homeowners, renters and the most vulnerable rather than big corporate landlords. The group will call for enacting Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez’s Use and Occupancy (U&O) tax reform bill. It restores fairness to our property tax code by balancing the burden between corporate landlords and the rest of us.

-No more free pass.  Councilman Wilson Goode’s abatement reform bill cuts the 10-year property tax “free pass” to 5 years. This is fair to both long-time residents and “the new, the few and well-to do.” including corporate developers.

-Make mega non-profits pay taxes on their profitable commercial property and contribute fair “good neighbor” payments for city services from which they benefit.

Freeze proposed city wage tax reductions that would keep millions of dollars in the hands of the wealthiest instead of city coffers while giving the average family only a tiny tax break.

WHO:

Fight for Philly, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Action United, MoveOn Philadelphia Council, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Liberty Resources, Neighborhood Networks, Jobs with Justice, AFSCME DC 33 and 47, PHARE.

WHAT:

Announcement of One Philadelphia coalition and kick-off of campaign for fair tax policy and collection in Philadelphia.

WHEN:

Tuesday April 16, 4pm.

WHERE:

City Hall, 4th Floor Caucus Room.

VISUAL:

Speakers, diverse crowd of supporters, signs.

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Fight for Philly is building a grassroots coalition of residents, community groups, neighborhood associations, faith organizations and labor groups united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability and strong communities.

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

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Fight for Philly protests Corbett’s unfair tax proposal on Tax Day

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jesse Kudler

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

 

Fight for Philly protests Corbett’s unfair tax proposal on Tax Day

Activists will leaflet and gather signatures for tax fairness petition

Philadelphia, PA – On Monday, April 15, Tax Day, activists from Fight for Philly will leaflet at 30th Street Post Office to call attention to Gov. Tom Corbett’s latest outrageous budget proposal, to cut taxes on businesses by 30%.  The group will talk to last-minute tax filers about Corbett’s newest gift to large corporations, which gives up even more state revenue that could be used to fund healthcare, education, infrastructure, the General Assistance program, and other vital services for Pennsylvanians.  The group will also gather signatures on a petition calling for tax fairness, demanding that the governor close corporate tax loopholes, create a Marcellus Shale drilling tax, and expand Medicaid.

The event is part of a statewide day of action in protest of the governor’s tax proposal.

Corbett’s proposal will, over the next decade, grow to cost more than $800 million per year but would reduce Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate only from 8.1% to 8.0%.  It would also further squeeze areas that have seen tremendous cuts under the governor’s austerity budgets, including education and healthcare.   Already, three-quarters of corporations pay $0 in state income tax and another 10% pay less than a family of four earning $33,000.  Businesses are enjoying nearly $2 billion a year from tax cuts created in the last decade.

Large corporations operating in Philadelphia like Comcast and US Airways benefit from tax giveaways and the Delaware loophole, letting them avoid state and federal tax burdens.  They should be paying their fair share, not getting even more breaks.

WHO: Fight for Philly
WHAT: Leafletting and petition-signing opposing Gov. Corbett’s tax gifts to rich corporations
WHEN: Tax Day, Monday April 15, 11:30am
WHERE: 30th Street Post Office, 30th and Chestnut Streets
VISUAL: Colorful signs and props, activists, leaflets and flyers, petitions

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Fight for Philly is building a grassroots coalition of residents, community groups, neighborhood associations, faith organizations and labor groups united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability and strong communities.

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

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Fight for Philly to state Capitol to protest Corbett’s tax proposal

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 9, 2013

Jesse Kudler

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

 Fight for Philly and others travel to Harrisburg to protest Gov. Corbett’s tax giveaways to rich corporations as he travels in South America with big business campaign donors


On Thursday, April 11, Fight for Philly, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, members of ACT UP and The Alliance for Retired Americans, workers, parents, teachers and seniors will board buses to Harrisburg to protest Governor Tom Corbett’s proposal to cut taxes further on profitable big corporations, do nothing to close corporate loopholes, and put big business profits before children, seniors, our hospitals, infrastructure and healthcare.  The House Finance Committee begins reviewing Governor Tom Corbett’s tax proposal with a public hearing on Thursday, as the governor himself travels in Brazil and Chile with his campaign donors.

Protesters will voice their concerns about Corbett’s proposal to give corporations a 30 percent tax cut and other special breaks without creating jobs. The plan locks in the tax cuts regardless of whether the state can afford them in the future. This could force more spending cuts to public schools, higher education, senior programs, healthcare and other vital services in order to subsidize the estimated $800 million cost in future years. Philadelphia schools have been suffering a crisis, with 23 schools recently closed and a $300 million budget deficit still remaining for next year.  The governor’s budgets have cut more than $1 billion from public schools statewide.  Pennsylvania education cannot afford these devastating cuts.

The governor will not be present for the hearing, as he is visiting South America with several corporate executives on a trip paid for by special interests.  His trip is paid for by Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a non-profit co-chaired by the governor and John Moran Jr., who controversially paid for a 2011 Rhode Island vacation for Corbett and his wife at the same time that the state Department of Environmental Protection was looking into a fracking waste recycling site run by Moran’s company.

The protesters will urge Corbett and the General Assembly to close the Delaware Loophole and other irresponsible tax breaks that rich corporations use to avoid paying their fair share.  They will call on the governor to stand up for Pennsylvanians and small businesses by no longer rewarding multi-state corporations that abuse loopholes to hide their income.

 

WHO: Fight for Philly, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Pennsylvania taxpayers, members of ACT UP and The Alliance for Retired Americans, workers, parents, teachers and seniors.
WHAT: Protest massive new tax giveaways to rich corporations in Gov. Corbett’s budget proposal.
WHEN: Thursday, April 11, leaving at 10a.m., protesting at 1 p.m.,
WHERE: Leaving from 846 N. Broad St., protesting at Main Rotunda, State Capitol Building, Harrisburg, Pa.
VISUAL: Activists boarding buses, diverse crowd of protesters, colorful signs, shirts

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Fight for Philly is building a grassroots coalition of residents, community groups, neighborhood associations, faith organizations and labor groups united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability and strong communities.

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

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Fight for Philly Members to Testify in Support of Banning Harmful Interest Rate Swap Deals for Municipalities

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jesse Kudler

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

 

Fight for Philly Members to Testify in Support of Banning Harmful Interest Rate Swap Deals for Municipalities

 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Members of Fight for Philly will testify at City Council tomorrow in support of Council resolution 130232, “urging the State Senate of Pennsylvania to enact SB 293, a measure that will repeal the legal ability of all municipalities to enter into financially risky qualified interest rate management agreements, commonly known as “swaps.””

According to a January, 2012 report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, “Swap deals negotiated with banks such as Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have cost the city and school district $331 million in net interest payments and cancellation fees.  If interest rates continue to remain low, still-active swaps could cost the city another $240 million in future net interest payments.”  With 23 city schools slated to be closed and the Philadelphia School District still looking to fill a $304mil budget hole, parents, homeowners, and others will testify that dangerous swap deals gamble with public funds and too often come out in favor of big banks at the expense of tax-payers.

Members of Fight for Philly will testify, along with Frank Nuessle, Research Director for the Public Banking Institute, and Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Who: Fight for Philly, Public Banking Institute, PFT head Jerry Jordan

What: Testimony in support of banning municipal swap deals

Where: Philadelphia City Council

When: 10am, Thursday, April 4, 2013

 

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Fight for Philly is building a grassroots coalition of residents, community groups, neighborhood associations, faith organizations and labor groups united in the fight for good jobs, corporate accountability and strong communities.

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

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