May 2013

Fight for Philly and One Philadelphia to support Use and Occupancy tax reform bill Friday in City Council

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jesse Kudler

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

Fight for Philly and One Philadelphia to support Use and Occupancy tax reform bill Friday in City Council

Testifiers to present petitions, call for tax fairness and big businesses to pay their fair share

Philadelphia, PA – Fight for Philly and the One Philadelphia Coalition will attend Friday’s City Council Finance Committee hearing in support of councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez’s bill to reform the city’s Use and Occupancy Tax.  The bill maintains the city’s current U&O rate instead of lowering it,  in an effort to balance an estimated $200 million shift in the tax burden from large commercial properties to residential ones under AVI.

Members of Fight for Philly, Casino-Free Philadelphia, and Neighborhood Networks will testify as part of the One Philadelphia coalition, supporting fair taxation in the city to fund schools and other services.  After the closing of 23 schools and with threats to further cuts for nurses, arts, sports, extra-curricular activities, guidance counselors, and other crucial school services, the city has easy ways it could collect new money, including passing Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez’s U&O reform bill. 

U&O reform makes more sense than the mayor’s newly-proposed cigarette and drink taxes, which face issues with collection, opposition from bar owners and smokers, and the need for enabling legislation from the state government.  U&O reform continues the city’s existing collection practices.

The One Philadelphia coalition will also 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!” 

Tomorrow’s testimony is part of a larger day of action with the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, culminating in a massive student walkout at noon, leading to a 1pm rally at School District Headquarters and a 2pm rally at City Hall. 

WHO: One Philadelphia: 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: Fight for Philly and One Philadelphia support U&O tax reform
WHEN: Friday, May 17, 2013, 9:30am.
WHERE: City Council Chambers
VISUAL: Speakers, petition drop, 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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Philadelphians Demand Fair Taxes for Schools

Jai'onna Hines

Jai’onna Hines

On Tuesday April 30, public school activists packed City Council chambers like an overcrowded Philly classroom. Activists from all over the city came to demand our city leaders find additional funding for starving Philly public schools.

Prior to Tuesday’s school funding hearing, Superintendent Dr. William Hite was in council chambers also asking council to seek out a solution for next year’s school budget. Dr. Hite asked city council to secure an additional $60 million for schools and is counting on $120 million from the state to fill a massive $340 million hole in the school budget.

Person after person at last week’s hearing called for Mayor Nutter and City Council to adequately fund Philadelphia schools and enact fair taxes. Fight for Philly members Patricia Solomon and 13 year old school student Jai’onna Hines testified about the need to raise revenue to guarantee quality education for all residents of the city.

“I have two grand-children in public schools and constantly worry about the quality of the education they are receiving.  Our schools are already operating on bare bones, and without new revenue, our children’s futures will be in deeper jeopardy.” said South Philadelphia resident Patricia.

As Patricia gave her testimony to council, numerous Fight for Philly members sitting in the audience stood up and unraveled 1,500 signatures petitioning Mayor Nutter and City Council to make big businesses and mega non-profits pay their fair share in taxes.

Philadelphia school student Jai’onna asked, “Why are students asked to sacrifice while big corporations get additional tax breaks?  It is up to our elected city leaders to put our schools and communities back on the path of prosperity!”

After Jai’onna’s testimony, Fight for Philly and Neighborhood Networks delivered the 1,500 signatures to Mayor Nutter’s office, but the mayor and staffers refused to accept them.  We eventually left them for a Philadelphia Police officer.

Add your name to the petition here!  The fight for fair taxation continues.

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