$5.2 Billion City Budget Goes into Effect
Philadelphia’s latest budget goes into effect today, containing $5.2 billion in spending and a host of programs designed to curb Philadelphia’s increasing gun violence rates. Over $200 million is directed towards anti-violence programming and community support. Additionally, with federal support and policymaking, the $400 million budget deficit predicted at the beginning of the pandemic has been filled. For more, please see our Public Strategies policy alert.
Councilmembers Gauthier and Quiñones Sánchez Target Gentrification with Mixed Housing Bill
Certain tracts in the 3rd and 7th Council Districts are targets of a new bill aiming to stem gentrification by requiring developers building 10-or-more-unit construction projects to build or fund at least 20 percent of those units as affordable housing (10 percent of those units could be off-site or satisfied with an equivalent donation to the city’s Housing Trust Fund.) For more, please see our Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies policy alert.
Mayor and City Council to Appoint Tax Reform Group
Mayor Kenney and Council President Clarke announced that they will create and appoint members to a working group to evaluate and make recommendations to change the city’s tax structure. City leaders say the group will determine how to ensure an “equitable, inclusive economic recovery” for Philadelphia. Please see the press release for more.
Councilmember Johnson’s Airport Worker Wage Bill Passes Council
Last week, City Council approved a bill that would provide roughly $15-per-hour wages, health benefits, and paid sick leave to certain workers at Philadelphia International Airport. Implementation of the new benefits, however, will be staggered over the course of the next several years, with some restaurant and retail workers set to receive full benefits in 2023.
Curfew and Career Pathway Bills Pass Council
New curfew laws for minors and a career pathway transparency bill for minors passed City Council. The new curfew law simplifies requirements and is less punitive. The career pathway law requires employers to provide employees with listings for “job training and educational opportunities” to help increase the city’s workforce development opportunities. Both bills were sponsored by Councilmember Gilmore Richardson.
Councilmember Thomas Targets Traffic Stops to Improve Community-Police Relations
Councilmember Thomas introduced a new bill to prevent police from conducting traffic stops for violations that do not pose an “imminent public safety risk” (such as an expired vehicle registration) to decrease racial disparities in policing. For more, please see the press release.
Renters’ Access Act Passes Council
Bills that would require landlords to use more transparent tenant screening methods and curtail landlords’ ability to use some eviction records in tenant screenings passed City Council. Sponsored by Councilmember Brooks, the bills aim to decrease racial disparities in evictions in Philadelphia, the vast majority of which occur in communities of color.
Council’s Plans for the Summer
In a special feature, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board interviewed members of City Council on their plans during the summer recess. Many councilmembers plan to focus on anti-violence programs and increasing access to affordable housing. Read more from the Inquirer.
Plastic Bag Ban Goes into Effect Today
In 2019, an ordinance that prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic bags by merchants was signed into law by Mayor Kenney. However, its implementation has been delayed due to the pandemic. Beginning today, the law will go into effect. But, the complete prohibition of plastic bags will not start until October 1, 2021, and businesses that do not comply will only be issued warnings until April 1, 2022. The city of Philadelphia has a webpage with more information for businesses.