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Broke asked your candidates

Broke in Philly, an initiative of Resolve Philadelphia in partnership with more than 20 local news outlets producing coverage on economic mobility, has sent a list of eight questions to all of Philadelphia’s 2019 Mayoral and City Council candidates. The questions were compiled through public suggestions and voting from readers and collaboration editors, and ask the candidates to explain how they plan to fight poverty and strengthen economic mobility in Philadelphia.

The deadline for responding to the survey is Wednesday, May 8. Candidates’ responses will be shared with the public here so Philadelphia residents can use this information to make an informed choice when casting their ballot. Responses will also be used in Broke in Philly coverage of the elections.

The questions were compiled by circulating a survey inviting readers to submit questions they wished to pose to candidates about Philadelphia’s economic reality. Broke in Philly received more than 300 suggested questions, which were then divided into categories like jobs, taxes and education. Reporting partners then published polls asking readers to choose their favorite of the three most common questions in each category. Combining feedback from the public and local media’s editorial input, Broke in Philly then finalized a list of eight questions to be distributed to candidates.

You can explore candidates' responses by selecting specific questions or candidates to look at and compare. Or you can click on a candidate to see their responses to all our questions.

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On the November Ballot

Billy Ciancaglini

Running for Mayor

No response

X

Billy Ciancaglini

Running for Mayor

No response

Jim Kenney

Running for Mayor

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would likely spend it on education. Our children and schools need all the help they can get because Harrisburg is not providing them with sufficient financial resources. As a result, I took back control of our School District, which is where it belongs. I committed half a billion dollars in new funding to our public schools and plan to invest another $700 million more.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Our transportation plan, CONNECT, provides a framework for how we plan to increase access to public transit. It’s imperative that our transit systems can allow residents to conveniently access jobs and other opportunities outside of their neighborhoods. We’re supporting SEPTA as they explore a redesign of their bus network to evaluate how we can better connect residents to bus routes and employment opportunities.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Small businesses help our city thrive. We want to make our city more appealing for small businesses to operate here. Since I’ve taken office, the Department of Commerce has expanded the services it offers to small businesses. We’ve helped local small businesses access millions in loans to support their growth. We’re also making gradual reductions in the wage tax rate so that it becomes less burdensome for those who want to do business here. Just this week we launched our Inclusive Growth strategy, which focuses on providing better support to small businesses, from things like access to capital and reforming our tax structure to providing more support through a Business Acceleration Team to work with business owners and improve their interaction with government.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

I’m investing millions in workforce development programs that will help bridge the skills gap between workers and prospective employers. We’re working with the Community College of Philadelphia to establish dual enrollment programs so that high schoolers can earn college credits and be better prepared to secure high-wage jobs. My latest budget also increases funding to support more summer job opportunities for our youth.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

I believe we must help students transition directly from high school to the workforce if they prefer not to pursue additional education. One of the ways we’re doing this is through our support of CTE education so that students are able to develop the technical skills necessary for a well-paying career. We’re also working with the School District to establish a new joint Office of Career Connected Education to help students be successful after high school.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

I am a strong supporter of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The current minimum wage is not enough to sustain a family. I decided that the City should lead by example in this regard by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all City employees and contractors. Since then, we’ve seen other major employers, such as Jefferson University, raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour for all their employees. Unfortunately, the state legislature stands in the way of us raising the wage citywide. However, I am a supporter of the Governor’s plan to raise the minimum wage and remain optimistic that we can increase the minimum wage for all of our residents in the near future.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe the first thing we must do is make sure our schools have the resources they need. So far, we’ve invested half a billion dollars in the School District and my latest budget is proposing another $700 million in new local funding for our schools. We simply could not wait any longer for Harrisburg to fund our schools. We had to step up and do it ourselves. Our newly appointed local Board of Education is doing a great job overseeing our schools so that all Philadelphia students have a better shot at reaching their true potential. We also helped ensure that the PFT had their first contract in over five years, allowing teachers to get needed raises and helping to reduce teacher turnover. Additionally, we launched our Community Schools initiative, which placed coordinators in schools to provide additional support for teachers and administrators so they can focus on their day jobs.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

X

Jim Kenney

Running for Mayor

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would likely spend it on education. Our children and schools need all the help they can get because Harrisburg is not providing them with sufficient financial resources. As a result, I took back control of our School District, which is where it belongs. I committed half a billion dollars in new funding to our public schools and plan to invest another $700 million more.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Our transportation plan, CONNECT, provides a framework for how we plan to increase access to public transit. It’s imperative that our transit systems can allow residents to conveniently access jobs and other opportunities outside of their neighborhoods. We’re supporting SEPTA as they explore a redesign of their bus network to evaluate how we can better connect residents to bus routes and employment opportunities.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Small businesses help our city thrive. We want to make our city more appealing for small businesses to operate here. Since I’ve taken office, the Department of Commerce has expanded the services it offers to small businesses. We’ve helped local small businesses access millions in loans to support their growth. We’re also making gradual reductions in the wage tax rate so that it becomes less burdensome for those who want to do business here. Just this week we launched our Inclusive Growth strategy, which focuses on providing better support to small businesses, from things like access to capital and reforming our tax structure to providing more support through a Business Acceleration Team to work with business owners and improve their interaction with government.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

I’m investing millions in workforce development programs that will help bridge the skills gap between workers and prospective employers. We’re working with the Community College of Philadelphia to establish dual enrollment programs so that high schoolers can earn college credits and be better prepared to secure high-wage jobs. My latest budget also increases funding to support more summer job opportunities for our youth.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

I believe we must help students transition directly from high school to the workforce if they prefer not to pursue additional education. One of the ways we’re doing this is through our support of CTE education so that students are able to develop the technical skills necessary for a well-paying career. We’re also working with the School District to establish a new joint Office of Career Connected Education to help students be successful after high school.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

I am a strong supporter of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The current minimum wage is not enough to sustain a family. I decided that the City should lead by example in this regard by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all City employees and contractors. Since then, we’ve seen other major employers, such as Jefferson University, raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour for all their employees. Unfortunately, the state legislature stands in the way of us raising the wage citywide. However, I am a supporter of the Governor’s plan to raise the minimum wage and remain optimistic that we can increase the minimum wage for all of our residents in the near future.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe the first thing we must do is make sure our schools have the resources they need. So far, we’ve invested half a billion dollars in the School District and my latest budget is proposing another $700 million in new local funding for our schools. We simply could not wait any longer for Harrisburg to fund our schools. We had to step up and do it ourselves. Our newly appointed local Board of Education is doing a great job overseeing our schools so that all Philadelphia students have a better shot at reaching their true potential. We also helped ensure that the PFT had their first contract in over five years, allowing teachers to get needed raises and helping to reduce teacher turnover. Additionally, we launched our Community Schools initiative, which placed coordinators in schools to provide additional support for teachers and administrators so they can focus on their day jobs.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

We’re always looking at ways to make our tax structure more competitive and facilitate more job growth. We’re making gradual annual reductions in the City’s wage tax rate so that we can lower the rate without forgoing too much revenue. I also support efforts to amend the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution so we can have a more progressive tax structure and ensure those that can afford to pay are doing so.

Allan Domb

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would dedicate it to working to lift people out of poverty by educating and training them for jobs. Primarily, we should focus on providing job training opportunities for Philadelphians ages 18-55 since they make up such a large part of our population. We should also be making sure that we are doing everything we can to keep people in their homes.

I recently introduced a resolution calling upon the State Legislature to mandate the teaching of financial literacy and technology courses (including computer coding) pre-K through 12th grade, entrepreneurship courses 7th through 12th grade, and an option for students 9th through 12th grade to work one day a week in a job for class credit if they wish, similar to the Drexel co-op program.

In my first term, I sponsored and paid for 122 public school teachers to take financial literacy courses at the Federal Reserve, and they are currently teaching over 3,000 students financial literacy in Philadelphia public schools….

I have also sponsored and paid for courses in financial literacy and technology training courses to be taught to returning citizens. Last year, I attended the first financial literacy course graduation for returning citizens at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, and Sylvester Mobley of Coded by Kids is now teaching a computer coding course to fifteen returning citizens, the first of its kind in any Pennsylvania prison.

Job training programs based on the model of these courses and initiatives would be crucial to efforts to pull Philadelphians out of poverty. ...

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Two years ago, I suggested that SEPTA should develop a phone application similar to Uber for riders to use. SEPTA now has an app, but modifications could be made to make our public transportation system more responsive to the immediate needs of riders. In general, technology used by SEPTA should be improved to increase access and ridership.

Additionally, I have said in hearings that we need to do a better job of making sure the public knows how efficient SEPTA is. Traffic congestion has increasingly become a problem in Philadelphia, so the more people we can get to use public transportation, the better.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

I have learned that over the years that city government keeps applying band-aids to problems affecting small business owners instead of addressing the taxes at the core of the problem, which are the City Wage Tax and the Business Income & Receipts Tax.

The cure is to modify those taxes. If we are serious about helping small business owners, we need to work to eliminate or dramatically reduce the City Wage Tax and the Business Income & Receipts Tax over the long term. 40% of our residents commute to the suburbs for work — the talent is in the city, so let’s keep it here. Accelerated wage and business tax reductions would also help existing businesses expand and create jobs.

Additionally, city government should make it easier to open and run businesses, not more difficult. The Commerce Department should have ambassadors for businesses that provide a one-stop shopping experience for new entrepreneurs ... until the entrepreneur had all of the information necessary to open their business. The ambassadors should be given authority from the Mayor and Commerce Department to make decisions and move forward to cut down any red tape that serves as a barrier to new business.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

I will work with my colleagues to implement the following actions:

  • Invest in troubled neighborhoods through city-funded special service districts. This would effectively create institutions such as the Center City District in other neighborhoods, and these neighborhood districts must be funded by the city. A safe and secure neighborhood is the first step in creating job and business growth.
  • Establish targeted tax credits that will help startups succeed, especially in their first years, which will create additional capacity for small businesses to create jobs in the sections of the city that need them most.
  • Empower the Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform to find innovative ways to maximize the ability of small businesses to succeed.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. I am committed to preparing students to go directly from high school into the workforce if they choose to do so. Between funding I have personally donated and that I have secured from allies in the private sector, computer coding classes are now being taught in twenty-five Philadelphia schools by Sylvester Mobley of Coded by Kids. 375 students are enrolled in these courses in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.

Additionally, I paid for a forklift at Randolph Technical School for their construction classes. I believe that we need more technical schools like the Randolph Technical School to train students in the trades and prepare them for the workforce.

I also recently introduced a resolution that calls upon the State Legislature to make financial literacy, technology training (including computer coding), and entrepreneurship courses — as well as an option for high school students to work one day a week in a job for credit if they so choose, similar to the Drexel co-op program — mandatory in all Philadelphia public schools. This would help students develop professional skills and ease them into the workforce if they choose to pursue a job immediately upon graduating.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. I am supportive of legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. $15 per hour is still poverty, but it’s a start. The City should commit to making the creation of good, well-paying 21st century jobs its priority. The City should also commit to expanding support and opportunities for entrepreneurship.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

City Council has a duty to the children of Philadelphia. In particular, City Council’s role is to do everything in its power to ensure that our schools and their programs are properly funded and that our students have the resources necessary to succeed. Every child should be guaranteed a good education, no matter their zip code.

Firstly, the prison population has declined by 47% in the last four years, but the prison budget has only dropped by 2%. Because of this, I have asked in writing for the Commissioner to do an audit of the prison budget. We need to reduce the prison budget to reflect the decline in prison population and use the savings to improve our public education system.

Additionally, I believe that we should educate, not incarcerate. I recently introduced a resolution to make financial literacy, technology training (including computer coding), and entrepreneurship courses mandatory in all Philadelphia public schools ... These courses and initiatives would go a long way towards providing our students ... the knowledge and skills they need to thrive outside of the classroom.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would change the city’s wage tax structure in a few crucial ways. Firstly, I would focus on boosting jobs and business starts by instituting accelerated wage and business tax reductions for city residents and businesses in Philadelphia. Secondly, I would work with my colleagues to identify targeted tax credits for the businesses and citizens that need them most. For example, I am currently exploring the feasibility of waiving the city wage tax for citizens who make $25,000 or less a year, provided they fill out a form applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The city wage tax waiver would act as a refund.

X

Allan Domb

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would dedicate it to working to lift people out of poverty by educating and training them for jobs. Primarily, we should focus on providing job training opportunities for Philadelphians ages 18-55 since they make up such a large part of our population. We should also be making sure that we are doing everything we can to keep people in their homes.

I recently introduced a resolution calling upon the State Legislature to mandate the teaching of financial literacy and technology courses (including computer coding) pre-K through 12th grade, entrepreneurship courses 7th through 12th grade, and an option for students 9th through 12th grade to work one day a week in a job for class credit if they wish, similar to the Drexel co-op program.

In my first term, I sponsored and paid for 122 public school teachers to take financial literacy courses at the Federal Reserve, and they are currently teaching over 3,000 students financial literacy in Philadelphia public schools….

I have also sponsored and paid for courses in financial literacy and technology training courses to be taught to returning citizens. Last year, I attended the first financial literacy course graduation for returning citizens at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, and Sylvester Mobley of Coded by Kids is now teaching a computer coding course to fifteen returning citizens, the first of its kind in any Pennsylvania prison.

Job training programs based on the model of these courses and initiatives would be crucial to efforts to pull Philadelphians out of poverty. ...

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Two years ago, I suggested that SEPTA should develop a phone application similar to Uber for riders to use. SEPTA now has an app, but modifications could be made to make our public transportation system more responsive to the immediate needs of riders. In general, technology used by SEPTA should be improved to increase access and ridership.

Additionally, I have said in hearings that we need to do a better job of making sure the public knows how efficient SEPTA is. Traffic congestion has increasingly become a problem in Philadelphia, so the more people we can get to use public transportation, the better.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

I have learned that over the years that city government keeps applying band-aids to problems affecting small business owners instead of addressing the taxes at the core of the problem, which are the City Wage Tax and the Business Income & Receipts Tax.

The cure is to modify those taxes. If we are serious about helping small business owners, we need to work to eliminate or dramatically reduce the City Wage Tax and the Business Income & Receipts Tax over the long term. 40% of our residents commute to the suburbs for work — the talent is in the city, so let’s keep it here. Accelerated wage and business tax reductions would also help existing businesses expand and create jobs.

Additionally, city government should make it easier to open and run businesses, not more difficult. The Commerce Department should have ambassadors for businesses that provide a one-stop shopping experience for new entrepreneurs ... until the entrepreneur had all of the information necessary to open their business. The ambassadors should be given authority from the Mayor and Commerce Department to make decisions and move forward to cut down any red tape that serves as a barrier to new business.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

I will work with my colleagues to implement the following actions:

  • Invest in troubled neighborhoods through city-funded special service districts. This would effectively create institutions such as the Center City District in other neighborhoods, and these neighborhood districts must be funded by the city. A safe and secure neighborhood is the first step in creating job and business growth.
  • Establish targeted tax credits that will help startups succeed, especially in their first years, which will create additional capacity for small businesses to create jobs in the sections of the city that need them most.
  • Empower the Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform to find innovative ways to maximize the ability of small businesses to succeed.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. I am committed to preparing students to go directly from high school into the workforce if they choose to do so. Between funding I have personally donated and that I have secured from allies in the private sector, computer coding classes are now being taught in twenty-five Philadelphia schools by Sylvester Mobley of Coded by Kids. 375 students are enrolled in these courses in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.

Additionally, I paid for a forklift at Randolph Technical School for their construction classes. I believe that we need more technical schools like the Randolph Technical School to train students in the trades and prepare them for the workforce.

I also recently introduced a resolution that calls upon the State Legislature to make financial literacy, technology training (including computer coding), and entrepreneurship courses — as well as an option for high school students to work one day a week in a job for credit if they so choose, similar to the Drexel co-op program — mandatory in all Philadelphia public schools. This would help students develop professional skills and ease them into the workforce if they choose to pursue a job immediately upon graduating.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. I am supportive of legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. $15 per hour is still poverty, but it’s a start. The City should commit to making the creation of good, well-paying 21st century jobs its priority. The City should also commit to expanding support and opportunities for entrepreneurship.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

City Council has a duty to the children of Philadelphia. In particular, City Council’s role is to do everything in its power to ensure that our schools and their programs are properly funded and that our students have the resources necessary to succeed. Every child should be guaranteed a good education, no matter their zip code.

Firstly, the prison population has declined by 47% in the last four years, but the prison budget has only dropped by 2%. Because of this, I have asked in writing for the Commissioner to do an audit of the prison budget. We need to reduce the prison budget to reflect the decline in prison population and use the savings to improve our public education system.

Additionally, I believe that we should educate, not incarcerate. I recently introduced a resolution to make financial literacy, technology training (including computer coding), and entrepreneurship courses mandatory in all Philadelphia public schools ... These courses and initiatives would go a long way towards providing our students ... the knowledge and skills they need to thrive outside of the classroom.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would change the city’s wage tax structure in a few crucial ways. Firstly, I would focus on boosting jobs and business starts by instituting accelerated wage and business tax reductions for city residents and businesses in Philadelphia. Secondly, I would work with my colleagues to identify targeted tax credits for the businesses and citizens that need them most. For example, I am currently exploring the feasibility of waiving the city wage tax for citizens who make $25,000 or less a year, provided they fill out a form applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The city wage tax waiver would act as a refund.

Derek S Green

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would use these dollars to leverage current programs in order to assist more people in our City. I would target these dollars towards existing programs that address poverty. By using this money to reduce the debt service for the expanded Basic Systems Repair Program, we could help more people that are struggling to fix up their homes. Or, a portion of these dollars could be used to pay down on the debt service for the new Restore, Repair, Renew low-interest loan program that assists homeowners throughout Philadelphia. In order to determine the right mix for how these funds should be allocated, I would convene a meeting among representatives of the Department of Housing & Community Development, Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and various nonprofit organizations so that we can make this determination.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I believe that we can increase access to public transportation in Philly by using more SEPTA revenues for our city. Currently, the city only has two seats on SEPTA’s 15-member Board of Directors. Due to this lack of representation, public transportation in Philly is not funded at a sufficient level that will provide better access for constituents. However, and considering the significant amount of SEPTA revenue that comes from city residents, we should receive a greater portion of these resources for public transportation in Philadelphia.

Further, these additional resources can be used for transportation initiatives that will reduce poverty. As a member of Council, I have been a strong advocate of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project’s (“PUP’) Reverse Commuting Program. This Program provides Shuttle Van transportation for Philadelphians to suburban jobs. Consequently, PUP’s Program brings city residents to suburban areas like King of Prussia that have various job openings and too few candidates. Through additional resources from SEPTA, we can increase access to public transportation and reduce poverty in our city.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

My vision for Philadelphia is a city where we no longer have the title of the largest big city with the highest level of poverty in the nation. With a 26% poverty rate, this title has defined our city. This level of poverty is generally concentrated in communities beyond Center City. In many ways, Philadelphia has become a tale of two cities. Higher income and gentrifying neighborhoods are seeing property values skyrocket and moderate to low income communities are not seeing this level of growth. Further, these growing neighborhoods are attracting entrepreneurs and businesses who are creating jobs for these communities. In contrast, moderate to low income neighborhoods are struggling to fill vacant storefronts with businesses that can reduce poverty with jobs. As a city, we need policies and initiatives that will help all neighborhoods and not just a select few communities.

Through my experiences as a small business lender, entrepreneur, and nonprofit leader, one of the best ways to address poverty is the ability to grow small businesses. Our ability to grow these businesses will benefit our entire city. From Washington Lane to Washington Avenue, every neighborhood in our city has a commercial corridor that is the anchor of the community and the hub of its small business sector. In order for these companies to grow and thrive, they need assistance from our city so that they can employ our neighbors and increase their wages.

To support this goal, I worked with the Commerce Department to create the Philadelphia Business Lending Network (“Lending Network”). The Lending Network is a consortium of 30 banks, credit unions, and lenders that use one application to provide access to credit to small businesses. In comparison to Lending Tree, this initiative is a one-stop, online resource that is helping small businesses in our city. Through the Lending Network, small businesses are able to grow and provide income to their employees. This new or additional income will also help other businesses because employees will have more resources to buy goods and services. Further, this income will also provide more revenue for the city’s General Fund and will enable more investments in education, city services, and other needs for Philadelphia. By growing small businesses in neighborhoods around our city, we can begin to reduce our poverty rate and move from a tale of two cities to one community where growth is shared throughout Philadelphia.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

In addition to the Lending Network program that I discussed in my answer to question 3, I would expand the city’s implementation of the Best Value legislation that I passed and work to pass my Local Procurement legislation. Through Best Value and Local Procurement, the city can provide more opportunities for local companies to do business with the city. In particular, these initiatives will enable these local companies to grow and hire more people from our city. By using city procurement as an economic development tool for local businesses, we can provide more jobs in Philadelphia and begin to address our high rate of poverty.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

In addition to criminal justice reform, a way to end the school to prison pipeline is to provide more career opportunities for young people in our city. Accordingly, it is important to increase funding for Career Technical Education (“CTE”) programs in schools because these programs provide a career path for many students and become a roadmap for a brighter future. Further, we need to develop a better relationship with the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council (“Building Trades”) to make this roadmap accessible to more students. As the Labor Co-Chair for the Democratic Municipal Officials, I have toured 17 Building Trades apprentice training facilities. Through these tours and meetings with Michelle Armstrong (Exec. Dir. of the District’s CTE Office) and Rich Lazer (Deputy Mayor for Labor), we plan to develop a directory to make it easier for District students and employees to understand the application process for the Building Trades.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. It is from this perspective why I voted for Bill #180846 which sets a standard of $15 as Philadelphia’s 21st Century Minimum Wage. Further, this bill includes a multiplier based on the Consumer Price Index so that this $15 standard can continue to increase over time.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

My vision for public education in Philadelphia is one where we live up to the standard stated in our state constitution. Under Article 3, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, “[t]he General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” In comparing the amount of state funding for the School District versus other urban education systems that are funded based on the same state constitutional language, it is clear that the standard of our own state constitution is not being met. As a member of City Council, I voted to provide over $600 million in additional dollars to the School District. However, the School District is not receiving a fair level of funding from the Commonwealth and over the years we have had to increase funding at the local level to make up for this deficit. As we await the decision in the William Penn School District v. PA Dept. of Education litigation, Philadelphia should form a coalition with other county officials to lobby Harrisburg for a fair, weighted funding formula that provides more state funds for Philadelphia’s public school children but also for children throughout Pennsylvania. Due to the elimination of the charter school reimbursement and the growth of cyber charter schools, numerous schools (urban, suburban, and rural) are feeling the impact of a lack of a fair funding formula and this result provides an opportunity to form a unique coalition to address this issue.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

As a former small business lender in North Philadelphia, I saw how the growth of local businesses can impact poverty in families and communities. In this regard, I believe that we need to develop and create policies that help our small businesses to grow and thrive so that they can create jobs for our communities and consequently reduce poverty in our city. Additionally, we need to modify our corporate tax structure so that we can support small businesses and ensure that big corporations pay their fair share. However, our Pennsylvania Constitution restricts our ability to modify our current tax structure. Under Section 1, Article 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, “[a]ll taxes shall be uniform.” This Uniformity Clause restricts our ability to tax small businesses differently than large corporations. In comparison to the constitutions of many other states, we need to call on our Pennsylvania General Assembly to amend the Uniformity Clause so that we can have an equitable corporate tax structure in our city.

X

Derek S Green

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would use these dollars to leverage current programs in order to assist more people in our City. I would target these dollars towards existing programs that address poverty. By using this money to reduce the debt service for the expanded Basic Systems Repair Program, we could help more people that are struggling to fix up their homes. Or, a portion of these dollars could be used to pay down on the debt service for the new Restore, Repair, Renew low-interest loan program that assists homeowners throughout Philadelphia. In order to determine the right mix for how these funds should be allocated, I would convene a meeting among representatives of the Department of Housing & Community Development, Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and various nonprofit organizations so that we can make this determination.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I believe that we can increase access to public transportation in Philly by using more SEPTA revenues for our city. Currently, the city only has two seats on SEPTA’s 15-member Board of Directors. Due to this lack of representation, public transportation in Philly is not funded at a sufficient level that will provide better access for constituents. However, and considering the significant amount of SEPTA revenue that comes from city residents, we should receive a greater portion of these resources for public transportation in Philadelphia.

Further, these additional resources can be used for transportation initiatives that will reduce poverty. As a member of Council, I have been a strong advocate of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project’s (“PUP’) Reverse Commuting Program. This Program provides Shuttle Van transportation for Philadelphians to suburban jobs. Consequently, PUP’s Program brings city residents to suburban areas like King of Prussia that have various job openings and too few candidates. Through additional resources from SEPTA, we can increase access to public transportation and reduce poverty in our city.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

My vision for Philadelphia is a city where we no longer have the title of the largest big city with the highest level of poverty in the nation. With a 26% poverty rate, this title has defined our city. This level of poverty is generally concentrated in communities beyond Center City. In many ways, Philadelphia has become a tale of two cities. Higher income and gentrifying neighborhoods are seeing property values skyrocket and moderate to low income communities are not seeing this level of growth. Further, these growing neighborhoods are attracting entrepreneurs and businesses who are creating jobs for these communities. In contrast, moderate to low income neighborhoods are struggling to fill vacant storefronts with businesses that can reduce poverty with jobs. As a city, we need policies and initiatives that will help all neighborhoods and not just a select few communities.

Through my experiences as a small business lender, entrepreneur, and nonprofit leader, one of the best ways to address poverty is the ability to grow small businesses. Our ability to grow these businesses will benefit our entire city. From Washington Lane to Washington Avenue, every neighborhood in our city has a commercial corridor that is the anchor of the community and the hub of its small business sector. In order for these companies to grow and thrive, they need assistance from our city so that they can employ our neighbors and increase their wages.

To support this goal, I worked with the Commerce Department to create the Philadelphia Business Lending Network (“Lending Network”). The Lending Network is a consortium of 30 banks, credit unions, and lenders that use one application to provide access to credit to small businesses. In comparison to Lending Tree, this initiative is a one-stop, online resource that is helping small businesses in our city. Through the Lending Network, small businesses are able to grow and provide income to their employees. This new or additional income will also help other businesses because employees will have more resources to buy goods and services. Further, this income will also provide more revenue for the city’s General Fund and will enable more investments in education, city services, and other needs for Philadelphia. By growing small businesses in neighborhoods around our city, we can begin to reduce our poverty rate and move from a tale of two cities to one community where growth is shared throughout Philadelphia.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

In addition to the Lending Network program that I discussed in my answer to question 3, I would expand the city’s implementation of the Best Value legislation that I passed and work to pass my Local Procurement legislation. Through Best Value and Local Procurement, the city can provide more opportunities for local companies to do business with the city. In particular, these initiatives will enable these local companies to grow and hire more people from our city. By using city procurement as an economic development tool for local businesses, we can provide more jobs in Philadelphia and begin to address our high rate of poverty.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

In addition to criminal justice reform, a way to end the school to prison pipeline is to provide more career opportunities for young people in our city. Accordingly, it is important to increase funding for Career Technical Education (“CTE”) programs in schools because these programs provide a career path for many students and become a roadmap for a brighter future. Further, we need to develop a better relationship with the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council (“Building Trades”) to make this roadmap accessible to more students. As the Labor Co-Chair for the Democratic Municipal Officials, I have toured 17 Building Trades apprentice training facilities. Through these tours and meetings with Michelle Armstrong (Exec. Dir. of the District’s CTE Office) and Rich Lazer (Deputy Mayor for Labor), we plan to develop a directory to make it easier for District students and employees to understand the application process for the Building Trades.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. It is from this perspective why I voted for Bill #180846 which sets a standard of $15 as Philadelphia’s 21st Century Minimum Wage. Further, this bill includes a multiplier based on the Consumer Price Index so that this $15 standard can continue to increase over time.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

My vision for public education in Philadelphia is one where we live up to the standard stated in our state constitution. Under Article 3, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, “[t]he General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” In comparing the amount of state funding for the School District versus other urban education systems that are funded based on the same state constitutional language, it is clear that the standard of our own state constitution is not being met. As a member of City Council, I voted to provide over $600 million in additional dollars to the School District. However, the School District is not receiving a fair level of funding from the Commonwealth and over the years we have had to increase funding at the local level to make up for this deficit. As we await the decision in the William Penn School District v. PA Dept. of Education litigation, Philadelphia should form a coalition with other county officials to lobby Harrisburg for a fair, weighted funding formula that provides more state funds for Philadelphia’s public school children but also for children throughout Pennsylvania. Due to the elimination of the charter school reimbursement and the growth of cyber charter schools, numerous schools (urban, suburban, and rural) are feeling the impact of a lack of a fair funding formula and this result provides an opportunity to form a unique coalition to address this issue.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

As a former small business lender in North Philadelphia, I saw how the growth of local businesses can impact poverty in families and communities. In this regard, I believe that we need to develop and create policies that help our small businesses to grow and thrive so that they can create jobs for our communities and consequently reduce poverty in our city. Additionally, we need to modify our corporate tax structure so that we can support small businesses and ensure that big corporations pay their fair share. However, our Pennsylvania Constitution restricts our ability to modify our current tax structure. Under Section 1, Article 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, “[a]ll taxes shall be uniform.” This Uniformity Clause restricts our ability to tax small businesses differently than large corporations. In comparison to the constitutions of many other states, we need to call on our Pennsylvania General Assembly to amend the Uniformity Clause so that we can have an equitable corporate tax structure in our city.

Helen Gym

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

My first term has focused on a housing first, anti-poverty agenda that addresses the crisis of evictions in our city that deeply impacts women, youth, and families, particularly in low-income communities of color across this city. When I heard that one in 14 renters is evicted annually — the overwhelming majority of whom were black women — I got to work. We established the first legal defense fund for renters facing eviction and an anti-eviction task force which resulted in rule changes in our courts. In just two years, evictions are now down 20 percent in Philadelphia. I would use a $10 million grant to expand on this work by first providing a right to counsel, so that renters facing eviction are given access to legal representation. This grant would also fund an expansion of rent subsidies and local housing vouchers targeted towards our most vulnerable populations.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

...I have used my seat on Council to advocate for income-based fares and the elimination of transfer fees. Young people who use transit blossom into adults who use, and pay for, transit. Making transit accessible, and therefore habitual, for youth encourages lifelong ridership. SEPTA’s practice of charging children full fare starting at age five is not only unnecessary; it’s counterproductive toward building future riders. We need new fare policies for children and youth. One place to start is changing the Student TransPass program into an expanded transit program for youth which goes beyond school hours. This way, youth can travel to and from a job, attend enrichment activities, and engage in community work. Similarly, we need to encourage those who attend our local colleges and universities to see public transit as a true option. In cities like Pittsburgh and Austin, colleges purchase transit passes in bulk for their students, building the cost into student activity fees. This is one simple way that Philadelphia’s higher education community can invest in public transit while pushing students to see themselves as part of the fabric of this city, and not just their campus.

Young people who use transit blossom into adults who use, and pay for, transit. ... SEPTA’s practice of charging children full fare starting at age five is not only unnecessary; it’s counterproductive toward building future riders. We need new fare policies for children and youth. One place to start is changing the Student TransPass program into an expanded transit program for youth which goes beyond school hours. This way, youth can travel to and from a job, attend enrichment activities, and engage in community work. Similarly, we need to encourage those who attend our local colleges and universities to see public transit as a true option. In cities like Pittsburgh and Austin, colleges purchase transit passes in bulk for their students, building the cost into student activity fees. This is one simple way that Philadelphia’s higher education community can invest in public transit while pushing students to see themselves as part of the fabric of this city, and not just their campus.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

The City must reorient its strategy away from big corporate interests and devote the work of our Commerce Department and other agencies toward supporting local, small businesses, and particularly those that are Black and Brown-owned. This includes reforming our taxes and subsidies away from corporate giants and back toward local business. Additionally, I believe that we must invest in the city’s IT department in order to enable small businesses to more easily navigate licensing, zoning, and revenues. Finally, small businesses need access to capital and I support the creation of a public bank to spur local growth.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • We need to incentivize businesses to provide job opportunities to our most vulnerable communities. I’ve used my voice on Council to call on the expansion of the Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, which provides reimbursements to local employers who hire returning citizens.
  • As a city, we could go much further in ensuring that businesses which benefit from local subsidies hire local, work with youth and public school students, and provide quality jobs that raise the standard of living in our city. I support stronger community benefits packages and accountability for promised jobs when subsidies are granted.
  • In some of our most struggling neighborhoods, we can attract jobs by investing up front in improving public safety, street cleaning, and expanded transit. Businesses can find opportunity when neighborhoods are clean, safe and easily accessible.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

We need to support young people in pursuing any opportunity post-graduation, whether that is college, trade, or work. Every company we partner with should support our School District through partnerships, summer jobs programs, and full funding of our schools. Our neighborhood high schools must support college and career readiness, and we must continue to fund vocational and technical high schools, which provide valuable mentorship to those entering trades and other professions directly after graduation. Finally, I believe we can do more to leverage our municipal authority when we are in negotiations with corporations (subsidies, franchise agreements, major city contracts) to require them to hire student interns and high school graduates and support public school funding and programs.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25/hour is a disgrace. It also slows economic growth and potential in our city and our state. We need to continue to fight for a living wage in Harrisburg, but have to act creatively at the local level. A living wage, combined with basic labor protections, provides a basic floor for economic stability. That’s why I was proud to introduce and pass Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek law, which will benefit 130,000 hourly workers in our city who suffer from unstable work schedules. The Fair Workweek campaign showed how unstable schedules and underemployment impact people’s lives. Workers with unstable schedules are twice as likely to go hungry and three times more likely to be evicted. My law establishes new protections by providing workers with advance notice of schedules and a direct pathway to boosting their hours. I’ll be expanding this work by ensuring the Mayor’s office enforces our labor standards and that we continue to raise the bar for quality jobs that ensure stable housing and access to nutrition. Additionally, I co-sponsored the city’s $15/hr minimum wage for city contractors and subcontractors, and I expanded the prevailing wage to 2,000 service sector employees. I will be pushing for the School District of Philadelphia to meet a $15/hr standard for all its employees and subcontractors as well.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

As a lifelong education advocate, I know that the most powerful counter to the privatization agenda that cut services and closed schools are the voices of our communities. I’ve held education town halls that have drawn out thousands of Philadelphians and held more school-based hearings in Council than ever before in order to establish a community-based priorities agenda for our schools. As a result, my legislative record is the most comprehensive schools agenda to come out of Council. From beating back reckless charter school expansion to restoring nurses and counselors and doubling the number of social workers; from winning a state complaint for special education services to guaranteeing water access, music programs and school breakfast, I am committed to stabilizing our school budgets, supporting educators and making sure students get the schools they need and deserve. You can view my full legislative record on school transformation over the past three years here.

Looking ahead, I’ll continue a human rights agenda for the Philadelphia public schools. Six years after the City shut down 24 public schools, I’m laying the groundwork for a 21st Century school modernization plan. I’m working with coalitions to demand the District fulfill its constitutional obligation to meet staffing and curriculum mandates; we’re working to end the school-to-prison pipeline by reducing the number of youth in juvenile placement and ending suspensions in elementary school. And I’m focused on a vision of safe schools that spends more money addressing student and staff needs than punitive disciplinary measures. I will remain the city’s loudest champion for full funding of our schools and supporting anti-racist, whole-child approaches to learning that center creative, nurturing and safe academic environments for children.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would love to end Pennsylvania’s regressive uniformity clause and pass progressive income tax legislation, including a millionaire’s tax. At the city level, I’ll use the tools we have here within our municipal authority which includes exploring a bottom end exemption or a low-income tax credit to relieve tax burdens on low-income wage earners.

X

Helen Gym

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

My first term has focused on a housing first, anti-poverty agenda that addresses the crisis of evictions in our city that deeply impacts women, youth, and families, particularly in low-income communities of color across this city. When I heard that one in 14 renters is evicted annually — the overwhelming majority of whom were black women — I got to work. We established the first legal defense fund for renters facing eviction and an anti-eviction task force which resulted in rule changes in our courts. In just two years, evictions are now down 20 percent in Philadelphia. I would use a $10 million grant to expand on this work by first providing a right to counsel, so that renters facing eviction are given access to legal representation. This grant would also fund an expansion of rent subsidies and local housing vouchers targeted towards our most vulnerable populations.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

...I have used my seat on Council to advocate for income-based fares and the elimination of transfer fees. Young people who use transit blossom into adults who use, and pay for, transit. Making transit accessible, and therefore habitual, for youth encourages lifelong ridership. SEPTA’s practice of charging children full fare starting at age five is not only unnecessary; it’s counterproductive toward building future riders. We need new fare policies for children and youth. One place to start is changing the Student TransPass program into an expanded transit program for youth which goes beyond school hours. This way, youth can travel to and from a job, attend enrichment activities, and engage in community work. Similarly, we need to encourage those who attend our local colleges and universities to see public transit as a true option. In cities like Pittsburgh and Austin, colleges purchase transit passes in bulk for their students, building the cost into student activity fees. This is one simple way that Philadelphia’s higher education community can invest in public transit while pushing students to see themselves as part of the fabric of this city, and not just their campus.

Young people who use transit blossom into adults who use, and pay for, transit. ... SEPTA’s practice of charging children full fare starting at age five is not only unnecessary; it’s counterproductive toward building future riders. We need new fare policies for children and youth. One place to start is changing the Student TransPass program into an expanded transit program for youth which goes beyond school hours. This way, youth can travel to and from a job, attend enrichment activities, and engage in community work. Similarly, we need to encourage those who attend our local colleges and universities to see public transit as a true option. In cities like Pittsburgh and Austin, colleges purchase transit passes in bulk for their students, building the cost into student activity fees. This is one simple way that Philadelphia’s higher education community can invest in public transit while pushing students to see themselves as part of the fabric of this city, and not just their campus.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

The City must reorient its strategy away from big corporate interests and devote the work of our Commerce Department and other agencies toward supporting local, small businesses, and particularly those that are Black and Brown-owned. This includes reforming our taxes and subsidies away from corporate giants and back toward local business. Additionally, I believe that we must invest in the city’s IT department in order to enable small businesses to more easily navigate licensing, zoning, and revenues. Finally, small businesses need access to capital and I support the creation of a public bank to spur local growth.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • We need to incentivize businesses to provide job opportunities to our most vulnerable communities. I’ve used my voice on Council to call on the expansion of the Fair Chance Hiring Initiative, which provides reimbursements to local employers who hire returning citizens.
  • As a city, we could go much further in ensuring that businesses which benefit from local subsidies hire local, work with youth and public school students, and provide quality jobs that raise the standard of living in our city. I support stronger community benefits packages and accountability for promised jobs when subsidies are granted.
  • In some of our most struggling neighborhoods, we can attract jobs by investing up front in improving public safety, street cleaning, and expanded transit. Businesses can find opportunity when neighborhoods are clean, safe and easily accessible.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

We need to support young people in pursuing any opportunity post-graduation, whether that is college, trade, or work. Every company we partner with should support our School District through partnerships, summer jobs programs, and full funding of our schools. Our neighborhood high schools must support college and career readiness, and we must continue to fund vocational and technical high schools, which provide valuable mentorship to those entering trades and other professions directly after graduation. Finally, I believe we can do more to leverage our municipal authority when we are in negotiations with corporations (subsidies, franchise agreements, major city contracts) to require them to hire student interns and high school graduates and support public school funding and programs.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage of $7.25/hour is a disgrace. It also slows economic growth and potential in our city and our state. We need to continue to fight for a living wage in Harrisburg, but have to act creatively at the local level. A living wage, combined with basic labor protections, provides a basic floor for economic stability. That’s why I was proud to introduce and pass Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek law, which will benefit 130,000 hourly workers in our city who suffer from unstable work schedules. The Fair Workweek campaign showed how unstable schedules and underemployment impact people’s lives. Workers with unstable schedules are twice as likely to go hungry and three times more likely to be evicted. My law establishes new protections by providing workers with advance notice of schedules and a direct pathway to boosting their hours. I’ll be expanding this work by ensuring the Mayor’s office enforces our labor standards and that we continue to raise the bar for quality jobs that ensure stable housing and access to nutrition. Additionally, I co-sponsored the city’s $15/hr minimum wage for city contractors and subcontractors, and I expanded the prevailing wage to 2,000 service sector employees. I will be pushing for the School District of Philadelphia to meet a $15/hr standard for all its employees and subcontractors as well.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

As a lifelong education advocate, I know that the most powerful counter to the privatization agenda that cut services and closed schools are the voices of our communities. I’ve held education town halls that have drawn out thousands of Philadelphians and held more school-based hearings in Council than ever before in order to establish a community-based priorities agenda for our schools. As a result, my legislative record is the most comprehensive schools agenda to come out of Council. From beating back reckless charter school expansion to restoring nurses and counselors and doubling the number of social workers; from winning a state complaint for special education services to guaranteeing water access, music programs and school breakfast, I am committed to stabilizing our school budgets, supporting educators and making sure students get the schools they need and deserve. You can view my full legislative record on school transformation over the past three years here.

Looking ahead, I’ll continue a human rights agenda for the Philadelphia public schools. Six years after the City shut down 24 public schools, I’m laying the groundwork for a 21st Century school modernization plan. I’m working with coalitions to demand the District fulfill its constitutional obligation to meet staffing and curriculum mandates; we’re working to end the school-to-prison pipeline by reducing the number of youth in juvenile placement and ending suspensions in elementary school. And I’m focused on a vision of safe schools that spends more money addressing student and staff needs than punitive disciplinary measures. I will remain the city’s loudest champion for full funding of our schools and supporting anti-racist, whole-child approaches to learning that center creative, nurturing and safe academic environments for children.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would love to end Pennsylvania’s regressive uniformity clause and pass progressive income tax legislation, including a millionaire’s tax. At the city level, I’ll use the tools we have here within our municipal authority which includes exploring a bottom end exemption or a low-income tax credit to relieve tax burdens on low-income wage earners.

Bill Heeney

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Bill Heeney

Running for City Council at large

No response

David Oh

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

David Oh

Running for City Council at large

No response

Katherine Gilmore Richardson

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Katherine Gilmore Richardson

Running for City Council at large

No response

Al Taubenberger

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

It's sad to say that $10 million isn't a lot of money these days, but it's the truth. Nonetheless, I would split the grant money equally between the Widows' Funds for the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Department. The men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting and saving us, the citizens of Philadelphia, are real-life heroes who are deserving of our unending respect and gratitude. Far too many of our police officers and firefighters make the ultimate sacrifice in Line of Duty Deaths, leaving behind grieving families who must carry on without them. A gift of $5 million each to the Widows Funds for fallen cops and firefighters would give the bereaved families a valuable financial safety net. It's the least we can do to honor the memory of our fallen heroes.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

For reasons that escape me, SEPTA took away the token system, which was affordable and convenient for people on tight budgets. SEPTA needs to devise a "Family Discount" card that would allow multiple people to ride on the same card for a lower cost. Most folks who use SEPTA have very modest annual incomes. Another option could be to establish a "Frequent Rider" bonus system in which riders accumulate bonus points that count towards discounted or even free rides when certain milestones are met. There has to be a concentrated effort by SEPTA to devise cheaper fare alternatives to encourage greater use of public transportation. An aggressive marketing campaign aimed at the target audiences also makes sense.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

As the former President of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and former small business owner, I can say without hesitation that the city's tax structure is the single biggest turn-off for small businesses considering Philadelphia. We need to reduce the city tax burdens on small start-up businesses by either reducing certain tax rates in a small company's formative years or allowing them to defer those payments to future years after they have their financial footing under them. To that end, I sponsored legislation that would eliminate the estimated Business Privilege Tax payments currently required of new businesses filing tax returns for their first year of business operations. Under the current tax law, the Revenue Department instructs new start ups filing their first year city tax returns to pay their current Business Income & Receipts Tax (BIRT), along with a one-year estimated BIRT at the same time. The new legislation, passed by Council and awaiting the Mayor's signature, requires start up businesses to pay only the current city BIRT tax. Also, businesses with seasonal cash flow issues have the option of paying quarterly instead of paying in full each April 15th. We also need to cut out the red tape requirements with the procurement process and be more transparent with contract opportunities that would invite greater participation in bids for city work.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Expand Job Training programs, particularly in economically distressed communities.
  • Increase efforts to connect job seekers with professions that don't require a four-year college degree, such as nurses, heavy equipment and tractor-trailer operators, bookkeepers, auto service technicians and mechanics, police officers and sheriffs, office supervisors and retail sales supervisors. City government should help connect these employers with residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through social media, community job fairs, direct social worker intervention, traditional advertising and more.
  • Small businesses are the majority of the city's business community. The city should create incentives for small businesses to recruit and hire people from the economically disadvantaged communities, whether it's tax breaks, tax rebates, recognition of participation through the city's own marketing streams and other methods.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. We need to acknowledge that secondary education is not ideal for every student and college is simply out of financial reach for many families. We need to place more emphasis on vocational-technical training opportunities for the city's youth.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, it is not adequate. The cost of living in 2019 has far outpaced the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. It is virtually impossible to have decent housing and enjoy healthy nutrition on such a salary. We need to work towards increasing the minimum wage, though I have concerns that the proposed $15 an hour minimum wage may be more than many small businesses can bear and still manage to stay in business.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

Philadelphia's public schools are being deprived of adequate state funding. It's nowhere near a fair funding formula. We need to aggressively lobby our elected officials in Harrisburg to fix the flawed funding formula that is depriving our public school system of desperately needed funding. We, as city lawmakers, also need to be looking at ways to tighten the city's fiscal belts and seek new revenue sources for our public schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would work to lower the wage tax because I believe our city wage tax remains the single biggest obstacle to attracting more businesses and people to the city. The modest, incremental cuts to the wage tax that the Kenney Administration has put in place are fine for now, but should be accelerated as the city's financial outlook continues to improve. Lost revenue through reductions to the wage tax would be offset by an increased tax base as a result of new businesses and residents coming into the city.

X

Al Taubenberger

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

It's sad to say that $10 million isn't a lot of money these days, but it's the truth. Nonetheless, I would split the grant money equally between the Widows' Funds for the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Fire Department. The men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting and saving us, the citizens of Philadelphia, are real-life heroes who are deserving of our unending respect and gratitude. Far too many of our police officers and firefighters make the ultimate sacrifice in Line of Duty Deaths, leaving behind grieving families who must carry on without them. A gift of $5 million each to the Widows Funds for fallen cops and firefighters would give the bereaved families a valuable financial safety net. It's the least we can do to honor the memory of our fallen heroes.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

For reasons that escape me, SEPTA took away the token system, which was affordable and convenient for people on tight budgets. SEPTA needs to devise a "Family Discount" card that would allow multiple people to ride on the same card for a lower cost. Most folks who use SEPTA have very modest annual incomes. Another option could be to establish a "Frequent Rider" bonus system in which riders accumulate bonus points that count towards discounted or even free rides when certain milestones are met. There has to be a concentrated effort by SEPTA to devise cheaper fare alternatives to encourage greater use of public transportation. An aggressive marketing campaign aimed at the target audiences also makes sense.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

As the former President of the Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and former small business owner, I can say without hesitation that the city's tax structure is the single biggest turn-off for small businesses considering Philadelphia. We need to reduce the city tax burdens on small start-up businesses by either reducing certain tax rates in a small company's formative years or allowing them to defer those payments to future years after they have their financial footing under them. To that end, I sponsored legislation that would eliminate the estimated Business Privilege Tax payments currently required of new businesses filing tax returns for their first year of business operations. Under the current tax law, the Revenue Department instructs new start ups filing their first year city tax returns to pay their current Business Income & Receipts Tax (BIRT), along with a one-year estimated BIRT at the same time. The new legislation, passed by Council and awaiting the Mayor's signature, requires start up businesses to pay only the current city BIRT tax. Also, businesses with seasonal cash flow issues have the option of paying quarterly instead of paying in full each April 15th. We also need to cut out the red tape requirements with the procurement process and be more transparent with contract opportunities that would invite greater participation in bids for city work.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Expand Job Training programs, particularly in economically distressed communities.
  • Increase efforts to connect job seekers with professions that don't require a four-year college degree, such as nurses, heavy equipment and tractor-trailer operators, bookkeepers, auto service technicians and mechanics, police officers and sheriffs, office supervisors and retail sales supervisors. City government should help connect these employers with residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through social media, community job fairs, direct social worker intervention, traditional advertising and more.
  • Small businesses are the majority of the city's business community. The city should create incentives for small businesses to recruit and hire people from the economically disadvantaged communities, whether it's tax breaks, tax rebates, recognition of participation through the city's own marketing streams and other methods.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. We need to acknowledge that secondary education is not ideal for every student and college is simply out of financial reach for many families. We need to place more emphasis on vocational-technical training opportunities for the city's youth.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, it is not adequate. The cost of living in 2019 has far outpaced the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. It is virtually impossible to have decent housing and enjoy healthy nutrition on such a salary. We need to work towards increasing the minimum wage, though I have concerns that the proposed $15 an hour minimum wage may be more than many small businesses can bear and still manage to stay in business.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

Philadelphia's public schools are being deprived of adequate state funding. It's nowhere near a fair funding formula. We need to aggressively lobby our elected officials in Harrisburg to fix the flawed funding formula that is depriving our public school system of desperately needed funding. We, as city lawmakers, also need to be looking at ways to tighten the city's fiscal belts and seek new revenue sources for our public schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would work to lower the wage tax because I believe our city wage tax remains the single biggest obstacle to attracting more businesses and people to the city. The modest, incremental cuts to the wage tax that the Kenney Administration has put in place are fine for now, but should be accelerated as the city's financial outlook continues to improve. Lost revenue through reductions to the wage tax would be offset by an increased tax base as a result of new businesses and residents coming into the city.

Isaiah Thomas

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would put those funds directly in to out-of-school time programs and gun violence prevention initiatives for young people. I realize these funds wouldn’t scratch the surface for most resource issues in our city, but if we invested this into programs for student summer employment or give 100 nonprofits $50,000, we would see real chance change across our city. When children’s time is occupied with constructive activities they are less likely to get involved in activity that will lead to violence, which is sadly an issue on the rise across our city and one that we must put time effort and resources into to reverse.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I would work with SEPTA to look into pricing changes. The recent cost increases for SEPTA service has been a major issue for low-income residents who depend on the service for their daily trips to jobs outside their neighborhoods, doctors visits and taking and picking up kids from daycare. I would also like to make small changes such as ensuring all stops are announced to help citizens without sight feel more welcome on the train. We should also explore Bus Rapid Transit lines in places where fixed rail options can’t happen or can’t currently attract needed funding. I believe that these initiatives will increase access to those who utilize the service and make the service work better for everyone.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

As I talk to many small business owners one of the top issues that comes up is the taxes the city puts on them, which negatively affects their ability to grown and can make starting a small business particularly perilous. If elected, I would fight to revamp our tax structure so it is fairer for all citizens. I would like to fight for a more progressive tax code that will still allow all businesses to pay their fair share but in a way that does not make it such a burden. Then can be done by including them in the process of making legislation to provide more transparency and limit unintended consequences.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • I would look to increase job training for all, to better prepare not just young people but all residents to enter or event re-enter the workforce.
  • I would like to give a home to the Anchor Procurement initiative, which asks local businesses specifically colleges, hospitals, and hotels, to redirect more of their buying power to local businesses in the city. This would expand our workforce and bring well-paying jobs back into our city.
  • Lastly, I would look to introduce innovative ideas such as regulating the gig economy (I.e. Uber, Lyft) and turn these services into city jobs, which will also open a new wave of industry. Jobs such as this will support people in my generation who were failed by the school district which graduated them with few skills to prepare them to build a quality living.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

A major aspect of my platform is to change the climate, culture, and curriculum of our school district. This will need to happen on many fronts, On work readiness, I would work with unions and others to provide more information about apprenticeship programs and other pathways that exist after high school. The new workforce will definitely require more skills than in the past but as much as half of them will work in jobs and industries for which college isn’t well structured. We need to create pathways to sustainable jobs for all Philadelphians.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The current minimum wage cannot support a decent living for citizens across the board. Philadelphia is one of the few cities where an individual can work more than one job and still live under the poverty line. Since my last run, I have pushed and worked with unions to fight for $15/hour minimum wage, as a start. We need to also make sure that wages rise as the cost of living increases or any wage raises won will be gobbled up by cost increases.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

Hybrid School Board — Now that we have local control over our schools again, I believe we should look into changing the methods of governance and introduce a hybrid school board. If elected I would move to have the school board consist of members that are partly elected and partly appointed. I feel this solution would provide citizens a way to hold those who govern their schools accountable, while also still giving the mayor and city council would split the appointments equally a major say over the board and a vested interest in its success. I also believe we need to make school board membership a full time and paid position. As it is now it only allows for a narrow set of people to be involved: rich or retired. We need to have a diverse group of educators and policy makers at the helm of our education who dedicate their efforts to making our schools better, and I feel it will only happen if this becomes a paid full-time position.

Charter Oversight Committee — Philadelphia needs to get in front of the way we create and maintain charter schools. At this moment, we have a freestyle, reactive process governing education and this lack of planning has caused serious ripple effects. One of the first initiatives I would push if elected is to create a taskforce of retired and current educators, researchers and stakeholders from public and charter sectors to advise state legislators on charter oversight and set clear rules for them.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

As I’ve said before the city’s current tax structure works well for the accountants and the lawyers needed to understand any of it and for those with sweetheart deals. If elected to Council I would work with stakeholder groups, economists business leaders and citizen groups to overhaul how Philadelphia is funded and work to create a tax system that is transparent, understandable and fully expresses our goals and our values. Residents should expect nothing less of their government.

X

Isaiah Thomas

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would put those funds directly in to out-of-school time programs and gun violence prevention initiatives for young people. I realize these funds wouldn’t scratch the surface for most resource issues in our city, but if we invested this into programs for student summer employment or give 100 nonprofits $50,000, we would see real chance change across our city. When children’s time is occupied with constructive activities they are less likely to get involved in activity that will lead to violence, which is sadly an issue on the rise across our city and one that we must put time effort and resources into to reverse.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I would work with SEPTA to look into pricing changes. The recent cost increases for SEPTA service has been a major issue for low-income residents who depend on the service for their daily trips to jobs outside their neighborhoods, doctors visits and taking and picking up kids from daycare. I would also like to make small changes such as ensuring all stops are announced to help citizens without sight feel more welcome on the train. We should also explore Bus Rapid Transit lines in places where fixed rail options can’t happen or can’t currently attract needed funding. I believe that these initiatives will increase access to those who utilize the service and make the service work better for everyone.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

As I talk to many small business owners one of the top issues that comes up is the taxes the city puts on them, which negatively affects their ability to grown and can make starting a small business particularly perilous. If elected, I would fight to revamp our tax structure so it is fairer for all citizens. I would like to fight for a more progressive tax code that will still allow all businesses to pay their fair share but in a way that does not make it such a burden. Then can be done by including them in the process of making legislation to provide more transparency and limit unintended consequences.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • I would look to increase job training for all, to better prepare not just young people but all residents to enter or event re-enter the workforce.
  • I would like to give a home to the Anchor Procurement initiative, which asks local businesses specifically colleges, hospitals, and hotels, to redirect more of their buying power to local businesses in the city. This would expand our workforce and bring well-paying jobs back into our city.
  • Lastly, I would look to introduce innovative ideas such as regulating the gig economy (I.e. Uber, Lyft) and turn these services into city jobs, which will also open a new wave of industry. Jobs such as this will support people in my generation who were failed by the school district which graduated them with few skills to prepare them to build a quality living.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

A major aspect of my platform is to change the climate, culture, and curriculum of our school district. This will need to happen on many fronts, On work readiness, I would work with unions and others to provide more information about apprenticeship programs and other pathways that exist after high school. The new workforce will definitely require more skills than in the past but as much as half of them will work in jobs and industries for which college isn’t well structured. We need to create pathways to sustainable jobs for all Philadelphians.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The current minimum wage cannot support a decent living for citizens across the board. Philadelphia is one of the few cities where an individual can work more than one job and still live under the poverty line. Since my last run, I have pushed and worked with unions to fight for $15/hour minimum wage, as a start. We need to also make sure that wages rise as the cost of living increases or any wage raises won will be gobbled up by cost increases.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

Hybrid School Board — Now that we have local control over our schools again, I believe we should look into changing the methods of governance and introduce a hybrid school board. If elected I would move to have the school board consist of members that are partly elected and partly appointed. I feel this solution would provide citizens a way to hold those who govern their schools accountable, while also still giving the mayor and city council would split the appointments equally a major say over the board and a vested interest in its success. I also believe we need to make school board membership a full time and paid position. As it is now it only allows for a narrow set of people to be involved: rich or retired. We need to have a diverse group of educators and policy makers at the helm of our education who dedicate their efforts to making our schools better, and I feel it will only happen if this becomes a paid full-time position.

Charter Oversight Committee — Philadelphia needs to get in front of the way we create and maintain charter schools. At this moment, we have a freestyle, reactive process governing education and this lack of planning has caused serious ripple effects. One of the first initiatives I would push if elected is to create a taskforce of retired and current educators, researchers and stakeholders from public and charter sectors to advise state legislators on charter oversight and set clear rules for them.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

As I’ve said before the city’s current tax structure works well for the accountants and the lawyers needed to understand any of it and for those with sweetheart deals. If elected to Council I would work with stakeholder groups, economists business leaders and citizen groups to overhaul how Philadelphia is funded and work to create a tax system that is transparent, understandable and fully expresses our goals and our values. Residents should expect nothing less of their government.

Dan Tinney

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Dan Tinney

Running for City Council at large

No response

Matt Wolfe

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Matt Wolfe

Running for City Council at large

No response

Mark F Squilla

Running for City Council in the 1st District

No response

X

Mark F Squilla

Running for City Council in the 1st District

No response

Daniel Orsino

Running for City Council in the 1st District

No response

X

Daniel Orsino

Running for City Council in the 1st District

No response

Kenyatta Johnson

Running for City Council in the 2nd District

No response

X

Kenyatta Johnson

Running for City Council in the 2nd District

No response

Michael Bradley

Running for City Council in the 2nd District

No response

X

Michael Bradley

Running for City Council in the 2nd District

No response

Jamie Gauthier

Running for City Council in the 3rd District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

This is more than a theoretical question in my case, as the incumbent Councilwoman, Jannie Blackwell, has over $5 million sitting in her capital budget account. If I were to have $5 or $10 million to use in any way I wanted, I would immediately put it to work fixing up the basic needs of the Third District and aim to have these projects completed by local, women and/or minority-owned businesses. There are schools in our city that still expose our kids and teachers to asbestos, don’t have clean water, or whose heating or cooling don’t work. Safety violations like these need to be the first priority. But even beyond that, our recreation centers are crumbling, potholes are terrible, and traffic lights are broken. There are dozens of obvious improvements like this that need to — and can be — fixed with the current capital budget account money. Doing so would not only significantly improve our community, but also help people get meaningful work.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We should start by providing free transit to children under 12, expand transpasses to all students, and making transfers between buses, trolleys, and subways free. SEPTA and the city are exploring a bus network redesign that may help with this as well; however, we need to ensure that this redesign doesn’t make it harder for people to get to their jobs or for children to get to school. We must also increase transit funding as part of the city budget.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need to remove the barriers that make it hard for small businesses to operate in this city. To start, that means reforming the License and Inspections Department. We need to improve staff training, modernize technology, and reform their processes so that businesses aren’t dealing with a myriad of red tape. Businesses should not be waiting for months to get their permits. I also support reforming the city’s Request for Proposal process to make it easier and less onerous for small, locally owned minority- and women-led businesses to get city contracts and plan to work with our big education and medical institutions to get them to start procuring goods and services locally.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

The majority of Philadelphians work for small businesses, so I would start off by creating more opportunities for small businesses to thrive. Here in the 3rd District, that means holding our local medical and educational institutions accountable for using their buying power to procure from local businesses, especially those that are owned by women and people of color. It also means equitably developing our commercial corridors, like 52nd Street, Lancaster Avenue, Woodland Avenue, and 60th Street. Beyond that I would work to expand programs like the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative that train unemployed and underemployed residents for family-sustaining jobs and promote a Green New Deal for Philadelphia. There are dozens of opportunities to put people to work in the green economy, whether that’s by creating storm gardens, putting up solar panels, or improving our parks and other green spaces.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. Not everyone goes to college and that’s a fact our education system has to acknowledge and address. I would push to create more certification programs in our high schools, programs that would prepare our kids to get good, family-sustaining jobs. I would work with the unions, local medical and educational institutions, and small businesses that need specialized workers to ensure that certification programs connect graduates to specific companies that will hire them after graduating. And I would push larger employers to address their internal barriers to hiring more Philadelphians in need of jobs. There are many jobs that don’t require a college degree. But, institutional biases have created unnecessary degree requirements; collaborative partnerships with HR departments have proven that it is possible to reclassify jobs and employers are usually happier with these new employees.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Absolutely not — we need a $15 minimum wage. I was a supporter of the recent legislation that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 for city employees and city contractors, though I believe that it would have been better if we had gotten to $15 an hour much sooner. However, the vast majority of the workers in this city are not city employees. I would advocate for us to raise the minimum wage at the statewide level and I would pressure our local businesses to ensure that they’re paying their workers fairly as well.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

The key to a quality public education system is ensuring that every child has access to a great neighborhood public school. To accomplish that we need to first get more funding for the system as a whole. That means ending the ten-year tax abatement and advocating for the state to significantly increase the amount of money they’re sending to Philadelphia. It also means a moratorium on new charter schools so that these schools don’t take desperately needed resources away from our public schools. And it means getting our big non profit institutions like Penn and Drexel to invest in schools across the 3rd district. Penn Alexander is a fantastic school, but it can’t be the only one of its kind.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes. Having a wage tax is extremely unusual for a big city, and it’s been demonstrated time and again that it is one of the major factors holding back our city’s economic development. I support the proposal to reduce the wage tax below 3% and make up for that loss in revenue by increasing the commercial property tax in proportion to pay for it.

I would also support a progressive income tax which would allow for substantial changes to the wage tax because everyone would be paying their fair share. There would need to be state legislation passed to make this possible, but there has not been a sustained campaign to work with Harrisburg to make this happen. We need to develop a coalition of partners and a strategic legislative push to make a progressive income tax a possibility.

X

Jamie Gauthier

Running for City Council in the 3rd District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

This is more than a theoretical question in my case, as the incumbent Councilwoman, Jannie Blackwell, has over $5 million sitting in her capital budget account. If I were to have $5 or $10 million to use in any way I wanted, I would immediately put it to work fixing up the basic needs of the Third District and aim to have these projects completed by local, women and/or minority-owned businesses. There are schools in our city that still expose our kids and teachers to asbestos, don’t have clean water, or whose heating or cooling don’t work. Safety violations like these need to be the first priority. But even beyond that, our recreation centers are crumbling, potholes are terrible, and traffic lights are broken. There are dozens of obvious improvements like this that need to — and can be — fixed with the current capital budget account money. Doing so would not only significantly improve our community, but also help people get meaningful work.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We should start by providing free transit to children under 12, expand transpasses to all students, and making transfers between buses, trolleys, and subways free. SEPTA and the city are exploring a bus network redesign that may help with this as well; however, we need to ensure that this redesign doesn’t make it harder for people to get to their jobs or for children to get to school. We must also increase transit funding as part of the city budget.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need to remove the barriers that make it hard for small businesses to operate in this city. To start, that means reforming the License and Inspections Department. We need to improve staff training, modernize technology, and reform their processes so that businesses aren’t dealing with a myriad of red tape. Businesses should not be waiting for months to get their permits. I also support reforming the city’s Request for Proposal process to make it easier and less onerous for small, locally owned minority- and women-led businesses to get city contracts and plan to work with our big education and medical institutions to get them to start procuring goods and services locally.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

The majority of Philadelphians work for small businesses, so I would start off by creating more opportunities for small businesses to thrive. Here in the 3rd District, that means holding our local medical and educational institutions accountable for using their buying power to procure from local businesses, especially those that are owned by women and people of color. It also means equitably developing our commercial corridors, like 52nd Street, Lancaster Avenue, Woodland Avenue, and 60th Street. Beyond that I would work to expand programs like the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative that train unemployed and underemployed residents for family-sustaining jobs and promote a Green New Deal for Philadelphia. There are dozens of opportunities to put people to work in the green economy, whether that’s by creating storm gardens, putting up solar panels, or improving our parks and other green spaces.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. Not everyone goes to college and that’s a fact our education system has to acknowledge and address. I would push to create more certification programs in our high schools, programs that would prepare our kids to get good, family-sustaining jobs. I would work with the unions, local medical and educational institutions, and small businesses that need specialized workers to ensure that certification programs connect graduates to specific companies that will hire them after graduating. And I would push larger employers to address their internal barriers to hiring more Philadelphians in need of jobs. There are many jobs that don’t require a college degree. But, institutional biases have created unnecessary degree requirements; collaborative partnerships with HR departments have proven that it is possible to reclassify jobs and employers are usually happier with these new employees.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Absolutely not — we need a $15 minimum wage. I was a supporter of the recent legislation that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 for city employees and city contractors, though I believe that it would have been better if we had gotten to $15 an hour much sooner. However, the vast majority of the workers in this city are not city employees. I would advocate for us to raise the minimum wage at the statewide level and I would pressure our local businesses to ensure that they’re paying their workers fairly as well.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

The key to a quality public education system is ensuring that every child has access to a great neighborhood public school. To accomplish that we need to first get more funding for the system as a whole. That means ending the ten-year tax abatement and advocating for the state to significantly increase the amount of money they’re sending to Philadelphia. It also means a moratorium on new charter schools so that these schools don’t take desperately needed resources away from our public schools. And it means getting our big non profit institutions like Penn and Drexel to invest in schools across the 3rd district. Penn Alexander is a fantastic school, but it can’t be the only one of its kind.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes. Having a wage tax is extremely unusual for a big city, and it’s been demonstrated time and again that it is one of the major factors holding back our city’s economic development. I support the proposal to reduce the wage tax below 3% and make up for that loss in revenue by increasing the commercial property tax in proportion to pay for it.

I would also support a progressive income tax which would allow for substantial changes to the wage tax because everyone would be paying their fair share. There would need to be state legislation passed to make this possible, but there has not been a sustained campaign to work with Harrisburg to make this happen. We need to develop a coalition of partners and a strategic legislative push to make a progressive income tax a possibility.

Curtis Jones Jr

Running for City Council in the 4th District

No response

X

Curtis Jones Jr

Running for City Council in the 4th District

No response

Darrell L Clarke

Running for City Council in the 5th District

No response

X

Darrell L Clarke

Running for City Council in the 5th District

No response

Bobby Henon

Running for City Council in the 6th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

The opioid crisis that has gripped Philadelphia is among the worst in the country. Sadly, we are now known as the heroin capital of the East Coast. I would use the $10 million grant to fund additional drug prevention and treatment options in the city, with an emphasis on the opioid epi-center in Kensington. The so-called Safe Injection Sites are not the answer. Further enabling addiction makes no sense. We need to get people more professional help with treatment to beat their addictions.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

SEPTA has forgotten how to monetarily incentivize families to use public transportation in the city. Short of bringing back SEPTA tokens, one way to increase ridership would be a card that allows multiple people to ride on the same card. It's my understanding that, although such a card is in the works, it needs to be a priority. Almost half of SEPTA riders have annual incomes less than $35,000. We must find cheaper fare alternatives to encourage greater use of public transportation.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

I would start by reducing the city tax burdens on small start-up businesses by either reducing certain tax rates in a small company's formative years or allowing them to defer those payments to future years after they have their financial footing under them. We should ease the bureaucratic red tape requirements with the procurement process and be more transparent with contract opportunities that would invite greater participation in bids for city work. We also should advocate that the city's large universities and hospital systems open their bid procurement processes so that more small businesses can compete for that work. Currently, a little more than half of the $5 billion in the annual purchases of goods and servicees by universities and hospitals is spent on local businesses. Finally, I'd recommend that small business owners look to collaborate more to improve their odds of successfully responding to RFPs that are usually the province of big companies.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • As a longtime member of the Philadelphia Building Trades, I support the establishment of a Philadelphia Building Trades Charter High School that would best prepare young people for rigorous apprenticeship training programs with the skilled Trades and, eventually, careers within the Trades. These jobs provide family sustaining wages and great benefits. Such a school would look to draw students of color from some of the city's most economically depressed neighborhoods. We must acknowledge that traditional secondary education is not ideally suited to every young person, making the need for a Building Trades Charter High School all the more relevant.
  • Recent studies have shown that there are a number of professions that don't require four-year college education, yet pay good wages and are in demand. Some examples include nurses, heavy equipment and tractor-trailer operators, bookkeepers, auto service technicians and mechanics, police officers and sheriffs, office supervisors and retail sales supervisors. I would propose that the city intervene to help connect these employers with residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through social media platforms, community job fairs, traditional advertising and the like. Connect the job hunters with the job seekers.
  • Small businesses comprise the majority of the city's business community. We should develop economic incentives for small businesses to recruit and hire people from the city's economically disadvantaged communities. It could be in the form of tax breaks, tax rebates, recognition of participation through the city's own marketing apparatuses and other innovative programs.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, as I previously stated, I am championing the establishment of a Philadelphia Building Trades Charter High School to prepare young people for careers in the skilled Trades. We as a society need to acknowledge that secondary education is not ideal for every student and college tuition is simply out of reach for many families. We need to place more emphasis on vocational-technical training opportunities for the city's youth and the development of more skills-specific charter schools, such as the Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter High School that is helping prepare young students for careers in the electrical industry. We also should be encouraging the development of more collaborative approaches between labor and industry, such as the PennAssist Program, in which the University of Pennsylvania Hospital system through the Philadelphia Building Trades and the Philadelphia Area Labor Management (PALM) are employing high school students from poorer neighborhoods to work on the hospital's expansion as working apprentices of the Trades unions assigned to the project. It's real life, hands-on training for youth who have shown an interest in the skilled trades.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, it is not adequate. The cost of living in 2019 has far outpaced the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. It is virtually impossible to have decent housing and enjoy healthy nutrition on such a salary. I support increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Now.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

The City of Philadelphia took back control of the School District from the State School Reform Commission, but that does not alleviate the state government from adequately funding the school district of the only City of the First Class in Pennsylvania. And the state has not lived up to its responsibility, despite the best efforts of Gov. Wolf.

Pennsylvania's schools are the nation's most inequitanle, and among all state counties, Philadelphia gets the short end of the meager stick. At Martin Luther King High, there aren't enough textbooks for the students. Just 10 miles away at Lower Merion High, every student is provided with a school-issued laptop. That's a disparity as wide as the Grand Canyon. We as a city need to exert more influence on our elected officials in Harrisburg to fix the flawed funding formula that is depriving our public school system of desperately needed funding. We, as city lawmakers, also need to be looking at ways to tighten the city's fiscal belts and creating new revenue streams for our public schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would work to lower the wage tax because I believe our city wage tax remains an impediment to attracting more businesses and people to the city. I favor the modest, incremental cuts to the wage tax that the Kenney Administration has put in place, so as not to leave the city cash-strapped in the short term. The hope and belief is that the cuts to the wage tax would be offset by increasing the tax base through the addition of new businesses and residents into the city.

X

Bobby Henon

Running for City Council in the 6th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

The opioid crisis that has gripped Philadelphia is among the worst in the country. Sadly, we are now known as the heroin capital of the East Coast. I would use the $10 million grant to fund additional drug prevention and treatment options in the city, with an emphasis on the opioid epi-center in Kensington. The so-called Safe Injection Sites are not the answer. Further enabling addiction makes no sense. We need to get people more professional help with treatment to beat their addictions.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

SEPTA has forgotten how to monetarily incentivize families to use public transportation in the city. Short of bringing back SEPTA tokens, one way to increase ridership would be a card that allows multiple people to ride on the same card. It's my understanding that, although such a card is in the works, it needs to be a priority. Almost half of SEPTA riders have annual incomes less than $35,000. We must find cheaper fare alternatives to encourage greater use of public transportation.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

I would start by reducing the city tax burdens on small start-up businesses by either reducing certain tax rates in a small company's formative years or allowing them to defer those payments to future years after they have their financial footing under them. We should ease the bureaucratic red tape requirements with the procurement process and be more transparent with contract opportunities that would invite greater participation in bids for city work. We also should advocate that the city's large universities and hospital systems open their bid procurement processes so that more small businesses can compete for that work. Currently, a little more than half of the $5 billion in the annual purchases of goods and servicees by universities and hospitals is spent on local businesses. Finally, I'd recommend that small business owners look to collaborate more to improve their odds of successfully responding to RFPs that are usually the province of big companies.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • As a longtime member of the Philadelphia Building Trades, I support the establishment of a Philadelphia Building Trades Charter High School that would best prepare young people for rigorous apprenticeship training programs with the skilled Trades and, eventually, careers within the Trades. These jobs provide family sustaining wages and great benefits. Such a school would look to draw students of color from some of the city's most economically depressed neighborhoods. We must acknowledge that traditional secondary education is not ideally suited to every young person, making the need for a Building Trades Charter High School all the more relevant.
  • Recent studies have shown that there are a number of professions that don't require four-year college education, yet pay good wages and are in demand. Some examples include nurses, heavy equipment and tractor-trailer operators, bookkeepers, auto service technicians and mechanics, police officers and sheriffs, office supervisors and retail sales supervisors. I would propose that the city intervene to help connect these employers with residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through social media platforms, community job fairs, traditional advertising and the like. Connect the job hunters with the job seekers.
  • Small businesses comprise the majority of the city's business community. We should develop economic incentives for small businesses to recruit and hire people from the city's economically disadvantaged communities. It could be in the form of tax breaks, tax rebates, recognition of participation through the city's own marketing apparatuses and other innovative programs.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, as I previously stated, I am championing the establishment of a Philadelphia Building Trades Charter High School to prepare young people for careers in the skilled Trades. We as a society need to acknowledge that secondary education is not ideal for every student and college tuition is simply out of reach for many families. We need to place more emphasis on vocational-technical training opportunities for the city's youth and the development of more skills-specific charter schools, such as the Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter High School that is helping prepare young students for careers in the electrical industry. We also should be encouraging the development of more collaborative approaches between labor and industry, such as the PennAssist Program, in which the University of Pennsylvania Hospital system through the Philadelphia Building Trades and the Philadelphia Area Labor Management (PALM) are employing high school students from poorer neighborhoods to work on the hospital's expansion as working apprentices of the Trades unions assigned to the project. It's real life, hands-on training for youth who have shown an interest in the skilled trades.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, it is not adequate. The cost of living in 2019 has far outpaced the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. It is virtually impossible to have decent housing and enjoy healthy nutrition on such a salary. I support increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Now.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

The City of Philadelphia took back control of the School District from the State School Reform Commission, but that does not alleviate the state government from adequately funding the school district of the only City of the First Class in Pennsylvania. And the state has not lived up to its responsibility, despite the best efforts of Gov. Wolf.

Pennsylvania's schools are the nation's most inequitanle, and among all state counties, Philadelphia gets the short end of the meager stick. At Martin Luther King High, there aren't enough textbooks for the students. Just 10 miles away at Lower Merion High, every student is provided with a school-issued laptop. That's a disparity as wide as the Grand Canyon. We as a city need to exert more influence on our elected officials in Harrisburg to fix the flawed funding formula that is depriving our public school system of desperately needed funding. We, as city lawmakers, also need to be looking at ways to tighten the city's fiscal belts and creating new revenue streams for our public schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would work to lower the wage tax because I believe our city wage tax remains an impediment to attracting more businesses and people to the city. I favor the modest, incremental cuts to the wage tax that the Kenney Administration has put in place, so as not to leave the city cash-strapped in the short term. The hope and belief is that the cuts to the wage tax would be offset by increasing the tax base through the addition of new businesses and residents into the city.

Pete Smith

Running for City Council in the 6th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

The ultimate issue that affects this city and is a direct result of poverty, unemployment and the closing of businesses is the opioid crisis. Since this is the biggest focus of the city and that the city has the ability but fails to address the enforcement and treatment options that I will address and fix, I would use the $10 million dollar grant towards the reentry of addicts into the community by offering temporary low income housing, job training and placement.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

To increase ridership, we need to make sure that public transportation is affordable, accessible, safe and clean. We need to make it an attractive alternative for riders as well as affordable for low-income workers who need the access. SEPTA needs to implement more security and cleaner transports and facilities.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need reform the current bureaucracy and red tape, which is currently in place. Small business owners like residents are over taxed and overburdened. We need to develop a technology driven system for small business owners to do their reporting instead of the current format of monthly phone-ins. We also need to reduce the regulations put on these small businesses.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

We need to clean up sections of the city that are being destroyed by the opioid crisis. We need to implement a stronger solution to eradicate drug dealers and their suppliers. In addition we need a comprehensive plan in place for intervention, detox, treatment and rehabilitation, with an emphasis on mental health evaluation. We then need to clean up these areas and make them safer to residents so they can shop. This will increase business in those areas allowing for more employment opportunities. As well we need to attract more businesses to Philadelphia by reducing regulation, bureaucratic red tape and the delays it causes for inspections, etc. We also need to make it more attractive and competitive for new companies to come in and build their facilities.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, we need to revamp the Public School District to include more tech and trade programs. Not every student is equipped to go to college, so we need to do better evaluations to determine what areas and direction graduates go in. We need to evaluate and tailor curriculums that fit the student. i.e. an education curriculum designed for a future carpenter. We also need to get trade unions more involved in the development of these future members. In addition we also need to give these students life skills that we help them after high school i.e. balancing a checkbook, managing a bank account and budgeting.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, but the minimum wage is not intended as a measure for living. Although I do believe that a $10 minimum wage is needed. Minimum wage is designed for part-time, and student workers to have a supplemental source of income and to introduce younger people into the workforce. We need to increase employment throughout the city by having more manufacturing, trade and technology jobs that offer skilled wages, as well as having lower skilled jobs available at higher wages through incentive programs to employers.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

As stated above we need to re-evaluate all students and their abilities and devise a curriculum that will gear them towards college, technology or trade. In addition a complete audit of the school system is needed to address the wasteful spending and mismanagement so that these programs and assessments can be made available.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Currently Philadelphia residents are one of the highest taxed in the nation, including the wage tax. Residents of Philadelphia are responsible for the wage tax even if they work outside the city. We are obsessed as a city to continue to tax our residents and business owners to compensate for shortfalls in city resources. We need a complete evaluation of all city departments and restructure from within. We need to take a look at our current regulations make the city more attractive for businesses and employees. We can no longer work to live paycheck to paycheck. I would look to lower the percentage to 1% for those who work in the city and 2% for residents who work outside the city. To accomplish this, the city needs more fiduciary responsibility, better checks and balances and a full account and audit of every city agency.

X

Pete Smith

Running for City Council in the 6th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

The ultimate issue that affects this city and is a direct result of poverty, unemployment and the closing of businesses is the opioid crisis. Since this is the biggest focus of the city and that the city has the ability but fails to address the enforcement and treatment options that I will address and fix, I would use the $10 million dollar grant towards the reentry of addicts into the community by offering temporary low income housing, job training and placement.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

To increase ridership, we need to make sure that public transportation is affordable, accessible, safe and clean. We need to make it an attractive alternative for riders as well as affordable for low-income workers who need the access. SEPTA needs to implement more security and cleaner transports and facilities.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need reform the current bureaucracy and red tape, which is currently in place. Small business owners like residents are over taxed and overburdened. We need to develop a technology driven system for small business owners to do their reporting instead of the current format of monthly phone-ins. We also need to reduce the regulations put on these small businesses.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

We need to clean up sections of the city that are being destroyed by the opioid crisis. We need to implement a stronger solution to eradicate drug dealers and their suppliers. In addition we need a comprehensive plan in place for intervention, detox, treatment and rehabilitation, with an emphasis on mental health evaluation. We then need to clean up these areas and make them safer to residents so they can shop. This will increase business in those areas allowing for more employment opportunities. As well we need to attract more businesses to Philadelphia by reducing regulation, bureaucratic red tape and the delays it causes for inspections, etc. We also need to make it more attractive and competitive for new companies to come in and build their facilities.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, we need to revamp the Public School District to include more tech and trade programs. Not every student is equipped to go to college, so we need to do better evaluations to determine what areas and direction graduates go in. We need to evaluate and tailor curriculums that fit the student. i.e. an education curriculum designed for a future carpenter. We also need to get trade unions more involved in the development of these future members. In addition we also need to give these students life skills that we help them after high school i.e. balancing a checkbook, managing a bank account and budgeting.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, but the minimum wage is not intended as a measure for living. Although I do believe that a $10 minimum wage is needed. Minimum wage is designed for part-time, and student workers to have a supplemental source of income and to introduce younger people into the workforce. We need to increase employment throughout the city by having more manufacturing, trade and technology jobs that offer skilled wages, as well as having lower skilled jobs available at higher wages through incentive programs to employers.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

As stated above we need to re-evaluate all students and their abilities and devise a curriculum that will gear them towards college, technology or trade. In addition a complete audit of the school system is needed to address the wasteful spending and mismanagement so that these programs and assessments can be made available.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Currently Philadelphia residents are one of the highest taxed in the nation, including the wage tax. Residents of Philadelphia are responsible for the wage tax even if they work outside the city. We are obsessed as a city to continue to tax our residents and business owners to compensate for shortfalls in city resources. We need a complete evaluation of all city departments and restructure from within. We need to take a look at our current regulations make the city more attractive for businesses and employees. We can no longer work to live paycheck to paycheck. I would look to lower the percentage to 1% for those who work in the city and 2% for residents who work outside the city. To accomplish this, the city needs more fiduciary responsibility, better checks and balances and a full account and audit of every city agency.

Maria Quiñones-Sánchez

Running for City Council in the 7th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Rent and down payment subsidies for low-income families. Philadelphia has lost more than 20,000 affordable homes since 2000. As a result, we live in a tale of two cities where half of renters and a third of homeowners pay more than they can afford on housing at the expense of food, medicine, education, and childcare. Studies show that shallow subsidies can stabilize families in safe, warm, and healthy homes. Last year, I led City Council’s fight for an unprecedented $100 million for housing preservation. I will not stop fighting until we secure the right of all Philadelphians to live affordably near good jobs, good schools, and good transit.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

The 7th District leads the entire City in transit-oriented development. My neighbors have a right to faster, safer, and cheaper access to jobs, schools, and amenities. As Chair of Appropriations, I am requiring that we not only invest more, but also that we invest smarter, by enacting – not just “piloting” – tried-and-true ways to make our El and bus service faster, safer, and cheaper. Necessary reforms include free transfers and student transpasses, all-door boarding, signal prioritization, and real bus lanes.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Eliminate small business taxes and fully fund commercial corridor programs. Over the past decade, I led City Council through the most progressive small business tax reforms in Philadelphia history, including full exemptions against the Business Income and Receipts Tax and the Use and Occupancy Tax as well as credits for Sustainable Businesses that are minority-owned and invest in family-sustaining jobs. This budget season, I am demanding that our Commerce Department fully fund grants to every commercial corridor to improve storefronts, fill vacancies, and support a new generation of entrepreneurs who can make our corridors safe and shopper-friendly.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

First, increase the School District’s budget for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that unlock career pathways for hundreds of thousands of youth. Second, eliminate tests and other barriers to entry into unions. Third, invest in major capital projects that support our neighborhoods – not just Center City – to create permanent family-sustaining jobs. City government should not be waiting for an Amazon to create real jobs today.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. This year, City Council unveiled a plan for Narrowing the Gap when it comes to quality jobs for youth by partnering with local businesses to expand Career and Technical Education (CTE), Youthbuild, and other apprenticeship programs, and by decreasing union entry barriers for graduates of these programs. I witnessed first-hand how these programs change thousands of young lives, first as a proud CTE graduate of Mastbaum High, and later as the director of ASPIRA, the largest Latino education institution in the state of Pennsylvania.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Our minimum wage is woefully inadequate. Jobs are supposed to sustain families. But today in Philadelphia, a minimum-wage earner must work 128 hours every week to afford a two-bedroom apartment, leaving less than 6 hours daily for our security guards, home health-care aides, retail workers, and child-care workers to keep their own families safe and healthy. This past year, I sponsored a $15 prevailing wage law for all City workers, fair workweek protections for retail and domestic workers, and a ballot measure that allows Philadelphians to demand that our state legislators pass the $15 minimum wage. I promise not to rest until we secure the right to rest for hard-working families.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I am proud to lead City Council in the fight for local control and fair funding across the state. But educational disparities within Philadelphia warrant much more attention. As a longtime educator and advocate, I will continue to demand that our School District adopt its own fair funding formula so that zip codes do not predetermine the quality of our children’s education. Last year, I created the School Facilities Task Force, to equitably ensure healthy learning environments for all students and teachers.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I support a progressive tax structure, in which low-income families are not taxed at the same rate as millionaires. I am tired of colleagues and opponents who tell me we cannot pass progressive taxes because of regressive state laws. I tell them, “don’t show me the no; show me the how.” As a result, I have spent the past decade legislating major tax exemptions, credits, and forgiveness for low-income families.

X

Maria Quiñones-Sánchez

Running for City Council in the 7th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Rent and down payment subsidies for low-income families. Philadelphia has lost more than 20,000 affordable homes since 2000. As a result, we live in a tale of two cities where half of renters and a third of homeowners pay more than they can afford on housing at the expense of food, medicine, education, and childcare. Studies show that shallow subsidies can stabilize families in safe, warm, and healthy homes. Last year, I led City Council’s fight for an unprecedented $100 million for housing preservation. I will not stop fighting until we secure the right of all Philadelphians to live affordably near good jobs, good schools, and good transit.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

The 7th District leads the entire City in transit-oriented development. My neighbors have a right to faster, safer, and cheaper access to jobs, schools, and amenities. As Chair of Appropriations, I am requiring that we not only invest more, but also that we invest smarter, by enacting – not just “piloting” – tried-and-true ways to make our El and bus service faster, safer, and cheaper. Necessary reforms include free transfers and student transpasses, all-door boarding, signal prioritization, and real bus lanes.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Eliminate small business taxes and fully fund commercial corridor programs. Over the past decade, I led City Council through the most progressive small business tax reforms in Philadelphia history, including full exemptions against the Business Income and Receipts Tax and the Use and Occupancy Tax as well as credits for Sustainable Businesses that are minority-owned and invest in family-sustaining jobs. This budget season, I am demanding that our Commerce Department fully fund grants to every commercial corridor to improve storefronts, fill vacancies, and support a new generation of entrepreneurs who can make our corridors safe and shopper-friendly.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

First, increase the School District’s budget for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that unlock career pathways for hundreds of thousands of youth. Second, eliminate tests and other barriers to entry into unions. Third, invest in major capital projects that support our neighborhoods – not just Center City – to create permanent family-sustaining jobs. City government should not be waiting for an Amazon to create real jobs today.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. This year, City Council unveiled a plan for Narrowing the Gap when it comes to quality jobs for youth by partnering with local businesses to expand Career and Technical Education (CTE), Youthbuild, and other apprenticeship programs, and by decreasing union entry barriers for graduates of these programs. I witnessed first-hand how these programs change thousands of young lives, first as a proud CTE graduate of Mastbaum High, and later as the director of ASPIRA, the largest Latino education institution in the state of Pennsylvania.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Our minimum wage is woefully inadequate. Jobs are supposed to sustain families. But today in Philadelphia, a minimum-wage earner must work 128 hours every week to afford a two-bedroom apartment, leaving less than 6 hours daily for our security guards, home health-care aides, retail workers, and child-care workers to keep their own families safe and healthy. This past year, I sponsored a $15 prevailing wage law for all City workers, fair workweek protections for retail and domestic workers, and a ballot measure that allows Philadelphians to demand that our state legislators pass the $15 minimum wage. I promise not to rest until we secure the right to rest for hard-working families.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I am proud to lead City Council in the fight for local control and fair funding across the state. But educational disparities within Philadelphia warrant much more attention. As a longtime educator and advocate, I will continue to demand that our School District adopt its own fair funding formula so that zip codes do not predetermine the quality of our children’s education. Last year, I created the School Facilities Task Force, to equitably ensure healthy learning environments for all students and teachers.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I support a progressive tax structure, in which low-income families are not taxed at the same rate as millionaires. I am tired of colleagues and opponents who tell me we cannot pass progressive taxes because of regressive state laws. I tell them, “don’t show me the no; show me the how.” As a result, I have spent the past decade legislating major tax exemptions, credits, and forgiveness for low-income families.

Cindy Bass

Running for City Council in the 8th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would use it to help reduce poverty by investing in education and job development.

Short of a fair funding formula from Harrisburg, we currently have hundreds of unfilled teaching positions. I would hire more teachers and expand Teacher Residency Programs to include a broader group of professionals who live in the City of Philadelphia, hire classroom assistants, and restore discipline with dedicated staff.

Small businesses help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by large corporations. Investment in small business would include infrastructure improvements to commercial corridors, expanded and improved street cleaning from the City, and increased access to capital and subsidies.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I would increase access to public transportation by improving efficiency with infrastructure improvements to our streets which include eliminating potholes, creating bus lanes and site improvements to bus stops. Further, we should review routes for all public transit to maximize public access, lower the cost of travel for school age children, and encourage more institutions to utilize bulk buying programs.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

While Philadelphia is attracting business owners to gentrifying areas, we must adopt an inclusive policy.

I am dedicated to modernizing regulations and removing outdated red tape to better serve entrepreneurs in underserved neighborhoods. This can be achieved by enforcing laws that already exists, like getting rid of nuisance businesses that drive away good business and create disturbances on commercial corridors. Through my efforts, we now provide incentives and tax abatements for businesses impeded by lengthy infrastructure projects to help keep them solvent as we clean up all of our commercial corridors.

The inclusion of women and minority owned businesses in city contracts is imperative. I will champion legislation around ensuring that more contracts issued by the city give a preference to women and minority owned businesses that are based in Philadelphia. We cannot expect to address wealth building and poverty without finding ways to recycle our dollars locally.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

As we work toward expanding the number of small businesses that can hire local residents, we must also look at access to opportunity for residents of Philadelphia. For example, after I called for an investigation into the lack of minority participation in the City’s building trades, it was determined the City should develop a local Mentor-Protege Program. We must adopt a policy of inclusion of opportunity for all residents that are qualified, over qualified, and could use an apprenticeship program to be qualified; and, we must make it a practice to hire our city residents. I also support an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour and jobs with dignity. Every citizen should be entitled to determine their own career path. Education is the key and I will continue to partner with the schools in my district to push for access to opportunity through education.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, I plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce by strengthening apprenticeship programs and providing more funding for public education by eliminating the tax abatement. Those funds are needed to level the playing field and to institute technical and vocational education programs.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, I do not think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition. I am a strong supporter of increasing the minimum wage to $15 and hour and will continue to advocate for an increase.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

My vision is to truly support our teachers and students by providing the funds required to do so. We will get better results by making a direct investment into the Philadelphia School District. One of my top priorities is to end the ten year tax abatement to add these funds to our school district. We cannot wait for Harrisburg to develop a fair funding formula.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would support a progressive tax structure where poor people pay less and rich people pay more. We need to close loopholes and enforce regulations to insure that everyone pays a fair share and I believe we should gradually reduce the city wage tax.

X

Cindy Bass

Running for City Council in the 8th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $10 million grant, I would use it to help reduce poverty by investing in education and job development.

Short of a fair funding formula from Harrisburg, we currently have hundreds of unfilled teaching positions. I would hire more teachers and expand Teacher Residency Programs to include a broader group of professionals who live in the City of Philadelphia, hire classroom assistants, and restore discipline with dedicated staff.

Small businesses help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities to people who may not be employable by large corporations. Investment in small business would include infrastructure improvements to commercial corridors, expanded and improved street cleaning from the City, and increased access to capital and subsidies.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I would increase access to public transportation by improving efficiency with infrastructure improvements to our streets which include eliminating potholes, creating bus lanes and site improvements to bus stops. Further, we should review routes for all public transit to maximize public access, lower the cost of travel for school age children, and encourage more institutions to utilize bulk buying programs.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

While Philadelphia is attracting business owners to gentrifying areas, we must adopt an inclusive policy.

I am dedicated to modernizing regulations and removing outdated red tape to better serve entrepreneurs in underserved neighborhoods. This can be achieved by enforcing laws that already exists, like getting rid of nuisance businesses that drive away good business and create disturbances on commercial corridors. Through my efforts, we now provide incentives and tax abatements for businesses impeded by lengthy infrastructure projects to help keep them solvent as we clean up all of our commercial corridors.

The inclusion of women and minority owned businesses in city contracts is imperative. I will champion legislation around ensuring that more contracts issued by the city give a preference to women and minority owned businesses that are based in Philadelphia. We cannot expect to address wealth building and poverty without finding ways to recycle our dollars locally.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

As we work toward expanding the number of small businesses that can hire local residents, we must also look at access to opportunity for residents of Philadelphia. For example, after I called for an investigation into the lack of minority participation in the City’s building trades, it was determined the City should develop a local Mentor-Protege Program. We must adopt a policy of inclusion of opportunity for all residents that are qualified, over qualified, and could use an apprenticeship program to be qualified; and, we must make it a practice to hire our city residents. I also support an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour and jobs with dignity. Every citizen should be entitled to determine their own career path. Education is the key and I will continue to partner with the schools in my district to push for access to opportunity through education.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, I plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce by strengthening apprenticeship programs and providing more funding for public education by eliminating the tax abatement. Those funds are needed to level the playing field and to institute technical and vocational education programs.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, I do not think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition. I am a strong supporter of increasing the minimum wage to $15 and hour and will continue to advocate for an increase.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

My vision is to truly support our teachers and students by providing the funds required to do so. We will get better results by making a direct investment into the Philadelphia School District. One of my top priorities is to end the ten year tax abatement to add these funds to our school district. We cannot wait for Harrisburg to develop a fair funding formula.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would support a progressive tax structure where poor people pay less and rich people pay more. We need to close loopholes and enforce regulations to insure that everyone pays a fair share and I believe we should gradually reduce the City wage tax.

Cherelle L Parker

Running for City Council in the 9th District

No response

X

Cherelle L Parker

Running for City Council in the 9th District

No response

Judy Moore

Running for City Council in the 10th District

No response

X

Judy Moore

Running for City Council in the 10th District

No response

Brian J O'Neill

Running for City Council in the 10th District

.No response

X

Brian J O'Neill

Running for City Council in the 10th District

No response

Past Candidates

Alan Butkovitz

Running for Mayor

No response

X

Alan Butkovitz

Running for Mayor

No response

Anthony Hardy Williams

Running for Mayor

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the nation with about 26% of residents living below the poverty line. It is unconscionable that about 400,000 Philadelphians – including about 200,000 African-American residents – live in need. For far too many, Philadelphia is not a city of opportunity. In too many ways, it costs more to be poor in Philadelphia. We cannot end local poverty alone, but we can do more locally — and working with representatives in Harrisburg and Washington — to reduce poverty in Philadelphia. My goal is to cut Philadelphia’s poverty rate in half before I leave office.

Philadelphia’s poverty problem will not go away unless we make reducing poverty a priority. As mayor I will appoint a cabinet-level administration official to coordinate an integrated approach to reducing poverty in Philadelphia so all city agencies support our anti-poverty efforts. With the $10 million grant, I would follow the lead of Allegheny County and invest in the technology necessary to establish an integrated data system to link court, city, and school district data to best inform government’s ability to meet the needs of people struggling with the multiple challenges related to poverty. Those systems will allow my administration to take a thoughtful, holistic approach to reducing poverty in Philadelphia and my administration will then publish a program-based summary of the city budget and issue a report card on our progress reducing the city’s poverty rate.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We cannot reduce poverty if governmental actions and policies continue to help make Philadelphians poorer. As Mayor I will work to make SEPTA fare policies work for working families by eliminating the $1 penalty for those who need to transfer between buses, subways, and trolleys to travel to work or shop for groceries and by offering free SEPTA for kids under 12 to make mass transit more affordable for families.

I also support connecting Philadelphians to work by exploring options to expand the Broad Street subway to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, incorporating mass-transit infrastructure along the Roosevelt Boulevard, and restructuring SEPTA bus service to link neighborhood residents to job centers.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

If Philadelphia grew jobs like other peer cities over the last decade, we would have added 35,000 more jobs. As Mayor I will reduce the city’s unique and job-killing business taxes to drive the economic growth that employs neighborhood Philadelphians; give Philadelphia businesses a boost with stronger local preference rules for city contracts; and explore creating a public bank in Philadelphia to support the small, neighborhood businesses that create most of the jobs in our city.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

As mayor, I would look to use Philadelphia public spending to ensure that city projects are built by a workforce that looks like Philadelphia. I would push to lower the barrier to entry for small business to win city contracts and grow local businesses by changing the city charter to increase Philadelphia’s comparatively low dollar amount that triggers the formal request-for-proposal process. Finally, as noted above, I support connecting Philadelphians to work by exploring options to expand the Broad Street subway to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, incorporating mass-transit infrastructure along the Roosevelt Boulevard, and restructuring SEPTA bus service to link neighborhood residents to job centers.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

As mayor, I want to explore partnerships between our high schools and community and 4-year colleges and career-training programs to enable thousands of students to enroll in college courses and training programs before they graduate. Our students should be placed on a path to prosperity – whether it is through college or a profession – long before they graduate from high school.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. I support an increase in the Pennsylvania minimum wage to $15/hour to make work pay for Philadelphians.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

With education one of Philadelphia’s biggest challenges, we need the kind of experience and relationships I have gained in Harrisburg through passing the Cigarette Tax to keep schools open when budget shortfalls loomed. Our schools need more resources from Harrisburg: a funding formula that takes poverty into account and adequate public charter reimbursement – and I will work with my colleagues in Harrisburg to make this case clearly. Similarly, it is long past time for the Commonwealth to abide by legal decisions and fund local court expenditures, which could free up more than $100 million that could go to schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would support changing the Pennsylvania State Constitution to allow Philadelphia to enact progressive taxation, but while we are confined by the requirement that taxes be “uniform,” I would seek to reduce the city Wage Tax to 3% by the end of my mayoralty to allow more working Philadelphians to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.

X

Anthony Hardy Williams

Running for Mayor

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the nation with about 26% of residents living below the poverty line. It is unconscionable that about 400,000 Philadelphians – including about 200,000 African-American residents – live in need. For far too many, Philadelphia is not a city of opportunity. In too many ways, it costs more to be poor in Philadelphia. We cannot end local poverty alone, but we can do more locally — and working with representatives in Harrisburg and Washington — to reduce poverty in Philadelphia. My goal is to cut Philadelphia’s poverty rate in half before I leave office.

Philadelphia’s poverty problem will not go away unless we make reducing poverty a priority. As mayor I will appoint a cabinet-level administration official to coordinate an integrated approach to reducing poverty in Philadelphia so all city agencies support our anti-poverty efforts. With the $10 million grant, I would follow the lead of Allegheny County and invest in the technology necessary to establish an integrated data system to link court, city, and school district data to best inform government’s ability to meet the needs of people struggling with the multiple challenges related to poverty. Those systems will allow my administration to take a thoughtful, holistic approach to reducing poverty in Philadelphia and my administration will then publish a program-based summary of the city budget and issue a report card on our progress reducing the city’s poverty rate.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We cannot reduce poverty if governmental actions and policies continue to help make Philadelphians poorer. As Mayor I will work to make SEPTA fare policies work for working families by eliminating the $1 penalty for those who need to transfer between buses, subways, and trolleys to travel to work or shop for groceries and by offering free SEPTA for kids under 12 to make mass transit more affordable for families.

I also support connecting Philadelphians to work by exploring options to expand the Broad Street subway to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, incorporating mass-transit infrastructure along the Roosevelt Boulevard, and restructuring SEPTA bus service to link neighborhood residents to job centers.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

If Philadelphia grew jobs like other peer cities over the last decade, we would have added 35,000 more jobs. As Mayor I will reduce the city’s unique and job-killing business taxes to drive the economic growth that employs neighborhood Philadelphians; give Philadelphia businesses a boost with stronger local preference rules for city contracts; and explore creating a public bank in Philadelphia to support the small, neighborhood businesses that create most of the jobs in our city.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

As mayor, I would look to use Philadelphia public spending to ensure that city projects are built by a workforce that looks like Philadelphia. I would push to lower the barrier to entry for small business to win city contracts and grow local businesses by changing the city charter to increase Philadelphia’s comparatively low dollar amount that triggers the formal request-for-proposal process. Finally, as noted above, I support connecting Philadelphians to work by exploring options to expand the Broad Street subway to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, incorporating mass-transit infrastructure along the Roosevelt Boulevard, and restructuring SEPTA bus service to link neighborhood residents to job centers.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

As mayor, I want to explore partnerships between our high schools and community and 4-year colleges and career-training programs to enable thousands of students to enroll in college courses and training programs before they graduate. Our students should be placed on a path to prosperity – whether it is through college or a profession – long before they graduate from high school.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. I support an increase in the Pennsylvania minimum wage to $15/hour to make work pay for Philadelphians.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

With education one of Philadelphia’s biggest challenges, we need the kind of experience and relationships I have gained in Harrisburg through passing the Cigarette Tax to keep schools open when budget shortfalls loomed. Our schools need more resources from Harrisburg: a funding formula that takes poverty into account and adequate public charter reimbursement – and I will work with my colleagues in Harrisburg to make this case clearly. Similarly, it is long past time for the Commonwealth to abide by legal decisions and fund local court expenditures, which could free up more than $100 million that could go to schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would support changing the Pennsylvania State Constitution to allow Philadelphia to enact progressive taxation, but while we are confined by the requirement that taxes be “uniform,” I would seek to reduce the city Wage Tax to 3% by the end of my mayoralty to allow more working Philadelphians to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.

Fareed Abdullah

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Fareed Abdullah

Running for City Council at large

No response

Wayne Allen

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Wayne Allen

Running for City Council at large

No response

Erika Almirón

Running for City Council at-large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would use $10 million to start a lead paint remediation pilot program for low-income homeowners and small landlords (owning 4 properties or less). This program would train and hire people from low-income communities with an emphasis on hiring returning citizens and young adults to do free or reduced-price lead paint remediation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the service. My city council office would use the pilot program to determine how to roll out a citywide lead paint remediation program that would create well paying, unionized jobs for previously unemployed residents.

Philadelphia needs to work to provide jobs to local residents to solve the most pressing problems in our city’s backyard.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Our bus system needs to be modernized and redesigned. I will support legislation that depoliticizes the process and ensures that trained professionals, with community input are the drivers of such a plan. I will advocate for more local, statewide and national funding for SEPTA. I will push for increased funding to go towards increased frequency and reduced wait times, eliminating transfer fees, making the system free to young people under 18 years old and making the regional rail line more affordable and run more frequently.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need to provide property tax relief to small business owners. We need a public bank that can offer low-interest credit to business owners and we need to invest in organizations that provide technical support such as business planning and starting a co-op.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Increased funding for CTE programming in schools.
  • Create public sector and union jobs through a Green New Deal for Philadelphia.
  • Invest in reentry supports and job training for returning citizens.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

As someone who went to a CTE school for two years, I know firsthand how valuable workforce development training is. If young people are interested in going directly into the workforce they should have opportunities to take CTE courses, internships and apprenticeships. I will use my roll on City Council to advocate for increased funding for these programs. I will also use my roll on city council to secure additional funding for CCP. CCP is a great way for young people to get educational experiences that will prepare them for the workforce or a 4-year college.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

It is not. I will be an advocate in Harrisburg to change the laws regulating the minimum wage and preventing Philadelphia from enacting a $15 minimum wage. Locally we need to explore options to penalize companies that are not paying their employees a livable wage.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I will call for a moratorium on charter schools and pressure the mayor to appoint school board members who support a moratorium. Charters are taking resources from district schools and using unfair practices to deny the neediest children from attending their schools. I will work to end the ten-year tax abatement so that more money goes back into our schools. I will also advocate for PILOTS (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) from our city’s mega non-profits so that more money goes to our schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I believe Pennsylvania needs to end its Uniformity Clause so that Philadelphia can implement a progressive tax structure in which the wealthiest pay their fair share and poor, middle class and working people get tax relief.

X

Erika Almirón

Running for City Council at-large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would use $10 million to start a lead paint remediation pilot program for low-income homeowners and small landlords (owning 4 properties or less). This program would train and hire people from low-income communities with an emphasis on hiring returning citizens and young adults to do free or reduced-price lead paint remediation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the service. My city council office would use the pilot program to determine how to roll out a citywide lead paint remediation program that would create well paying, unionized jobs for previously unemployed residents.

Philadelphia needs to work to provide jobs to local residents to solve the most pressing problems in our city’s backyard.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Our bus system needs to be modernized and redesigned. I will support legislation that depoliticizes the process and ensures that trained professionals, with community input are the drivers of such a plan. I will advocate for more local, statewide and national funding for SEPTA. I will push for increased funding to go towards increased frequency and reduced wait times, eliminating transfer fees, making the system free to young people under 18 years old and making the regional rail line more affordable and run more frequently.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need to provide property tax relief to small business owners. We need a public bank that can offer low-interest credit to business owners and we need to invest in organizations that provide technical support such as business planning and starting a co-op.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Increased funding for CTE programming in schools.
  • Create public sector and union jobs through a Green New Deal for Philadelphia.
  • Invest in reentry supports and job training for returning citizens.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

As someone who went to a CTE school for two years, I know firsthand how valuable workforce development training is. If young people are interested in going directly into the workforce they should have opportunities to take CTE courses, internships and apprenticeships. I will use my roll on City Council to advocate for increased funding for these programs. I will also use my roll on city council to secure additional funding for CCP. CCP is a great way for young people to get educational experiences that will prepare them for the workforce or a 4-year college.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

It is not. I will be an advocate in Harrisburg to change the laws regulating the minimum wage and preventing Philadelphia from enacting a $15 minimum wage. Locally we need to explore options to penalize companies that are not paying their employees a livable wage.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I will call for a moratorium on charter schools and pressure the mayor to appoint school board members who support a moratorium. Charters are taking resources from district schools and using unfair practices to deny the neediest children from attending their schools. I will work to end the ten-year tax abatement so that more money goes back into our schools. I will also advocate for PILOTS (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) from our city’s mega non-profits so that more money goes to our schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I believe Pennsylvania needs to end its Uniformity Clause so that Philadelphia can implement a progressive tax structure in which the wealthiest pay their fair share and poor, middle class and working people get tax relief.

Deja Lynn Alvarez

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Deja Lynn Alvarez

Running for City Council at large

No response

Ethelind Baylor

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Ethelind Baylor

Running for City Council at large

No response

Vinny Black

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Vinny Black

Running for City Council at large

No response

Latrice Y Bryant

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Latrice Y Bryant

Running for City Council at large

No response

Devon Cade

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

As the next Councilman who will pursue City Council Presidency I would use the $10 million dollar grant to hire 5 tax avoidance recovery investigators to recover billions currently not being collected, from the top 11% income earners. The additional revenue would increase from the original $10 million to a minimum of $5 billion. Individual appropriation grants up to $1,000 would be available by open application. I would reduce homelessness by 50,000 and create a massive job creation to patrol the parks. $1 billion would go towards investment in the NE Airport development, and $1 Billion for municipal pensions. $500 million would be for a single men and single father program.

Cade later added that he would focus on the city's nonprofit property tax exemption to create the additional funds in revenue.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Septa prices are too high, and increasing even with the city, state, and federal government subsidizing SEPTA, while the public also pays. As councilman and/or Council President I would order SEEPTA, Uber, Lyft, to lower prices or privileges be revoked within the City, and work with all members of council to accomplish that task.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Small business grants of $1,000 would be available by open application. Assist the various Chambers of Commerce with available opportunities.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

Introduce a bill to invest billions in new investment in the parks with large community park patrol via atv, go carts, and horseback. Create a homeless to housing, job, transportation, and bank account program. Mandate very wealthy and large entities such as The University of Pennsylvania to hire full-time or lose fundings, increase the City civil service and non-civil service jobs by an additional 30,000 new jobs.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

There should be available jobs for people with a high school diploma, college educated, like myself, and without, you should be able to work like our great grandparents, and grandparents with or without education. How else will you be able to survive. Many jobs reserved for people with limited education are being replaced with kiosks, Philadelphia must enact a kiosks tax of $50,000 per machine/per location tax to offset the jobs lost with each machine.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The current minimum wage is an insult. You must pay people a good minimum wage to raise a family. In the executive world, we wouldn’t leave our home for peanuts, which anything under $20/hr is paying, primarily because after you factor bills, transportation, food, and shelter, you have negative amounts. Once in city council one of my first bills will be to increase minimum wage to $20 an hour by the end of my first term. Businesses offset those losses, and business expenses anyway. Over 30,000+ businesses in the City after taxes receives tax rebates and pay no taxes, so an increase in minimum wage will not affect them, after the offset.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I would call for new leadership, Dr. Hite must go.
The school board of education should have elected, paid, school board members. The schools go funded on bare bone budgets, which is troubling. You must fund education properly. Our schools should look like schools, our schools look and feel like prison institutions.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Absolutely, the current city wage tax structure is extremely generous to the upper 11%-20% higher-income earners. .... I would introduce a 20.25% wealth tax on the net worth of individuals and trusts worth $4 million or more. Which would generate $203.3 billion in new taxes, over 10 years. With $203.3 billion in new revenue the City, could solve its pension problem, its homeless challenges, old contaminated with lead, asbestos, and water contaminated school buildings, and reduce unemployment, and massive poverty.

Cade later said that he would enforce tax evasion laws to keep newly taxed entities from leaving the city.

X

Devon Cade

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

As the next Councilman who will pursue City Council Presidency I would use the $10 million dollar grant to hire 5 tax avoidance recovery investigators to recover billions currently not being collected, from the top 11% income earners. The additional revenue would increase from the original $10 million to a minimum of $5 billion. Individual appropriation grants up to $1,000 would be available by open application. I would reduce homelessness by 50,000 and create a massive job creation to patrol the parks. $1 Billion would go towards investment in the NE Airport development, and $1 Billion for municipal pensions. $500 million would be for a single men and single father program.

Cade later added that he would focus on the city's nonprofit property tax exemption to create the additional funds in revenue.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Septa prices are too high, and increasing even with the city, state, and federal government subsidizing SEPTA, while the public also pays. As councilman and/or Council President I would order SEPTA, Uber, Lyft, to lower prices or privileges be revoked within the City, and work with all members of council to accomplish that task.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Small business grants of $1,000 would be available by open application. Assist the various Chambers of Commerce with available opportunities.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

Introduce a bill to invest billions in new investment in the parks with large community park patrol via atv, go carts, and horseback. Create a homeless to housing, job, transportation, and bank account program. Mandate very wealthy and large entities such as The University of Pennsylvania to hire full-time or lose fundings, increase the City civil service and non-civil service jobs by an additional 30,000 new jobs.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

There should be available jobs for people with a high school diploma, college educated, like myself, and without, you should be able to work like our great grandparents, and grandparents with or without education. How else will you be able to survive. Many jobs reserved for people with limited education are being replaced with kiosks, Philadelphia must enact a kiosks tax of $50,000 per machine/per location tax to offset the jobs lost with each machine.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The current minimum wage is an insult. You must pay people a good minimum wage to raise a family. In the executive world, we wouldn’t leave our home for peanuts, which anything under $20/hr is paying, primarily because after you factor bills, transportation, food, and shelter, you have negative amounts. Once in city council one of my first bills will be to increase minimum wage to $20 an hour by the end of my first term. Businesses offset those losses, and business expenses anyway. Over 30,000+ businesses in the City after taxes receives tax rebates and pay no taxes, so an increase in minimum wage will not affect them, after the offset.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I would call for new leadership, Dr. Hite must go.
The school board of education should have elected, paid, school board members. The schools go funded on bare bone budgets, which is troubling. You must fund education properly. Our schools should look like schools, our schools look and feel like prison institutions.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Absolutely, the current city wage tax structure is extremely generous to the upper 11%-20% higher-income earners. .... That is a problem. I would introduce a 20.25% wealth tax on the net worth of individual and trusts worth $4 million or more. Which would generate $203.3 billion in new taxes, over 4 years. With $203.3 billion in new revenue the City, could solve its pension problem, its homeless challenges, old contaminated with lead, asbestos, and water contaminated school buildings, and reduce unemployment, and massive poverty.

Cade later said that he would enforce tax evasion laws to keep newly taxed entities from leaving the city.

Justin DiBerardinis

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I had 10 million additional dollars in the city budget, I would invest all of it in the creation of publicly funded, living wage work to serve our communities. I would hire a teacher’s aide in every classroom, people to plant trees, home aides to care for elderly residents and maintenance workers to keep our streets clean. I would like to invest vastly more than $10 million in this but it’s a good start. I believe this is the most powerful way for our city to fight poverty. I call it the New Deal for Philadelphia.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We need to vastly expand access to high speed and affordable mass transit. High speed bus service is the best option for Philadelphia, dedicated bus lanes on major roads so that riders can quickly get to Center City or to the train lines will help grow ridership. To ease access and make it more affordable, eliminating transfers would also increase the use of buses and trains.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Philadelphia and Pennsylvania were willing to invest billions to lure Amazon to our city. I wish we had the political will to spend that much on supporting and fostering a local economy. I believe we can muster that will.

Additionally, I think we have to reform the worst municipal tax code in America. It punishes small local businesses while benefiting large national corporations. It isn’t a level playing field and we have crushed the entrepreneurial spirit in our cities. I believe we need to invest in the infrastructure of our commercial corridors and not wait until a community gentrifies before we make those investments.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

The most important thing we can do is commit ourselves to the creation of public sector work for people to serve their communities. I would like that to be the signature, defining public program of this city. A commitment to use our public resources to fight poverty and build equity. Every school, park, and library should be a job creation engine for the communities that they serve.

I also believe a commitment to workforce development that starts early, during high school years will prepare teens to enter the workforce. We do this at Bartram’s Garden, where I have led the program for the last 6 years. We now have 50 high school students from Bartram’s High who have jobs at the Garden. Serving their community, developing job skills, and getting paid.

Lastly, mass transit and the ability to reach job centers is absolutely vital to fighting poverty in our poorest communities.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. We built our education system around the myth that college is for everyone and the only path to employment. This has created a college debt crisis and a generation of young adults who haven’t acquired the job skills that they need for our current economy.

My work at Bartram’s Garden has demonstrated this commitment to job training. Additionally I think we need a recommitment to vocational and STEM education at the High School level. We partnered with the Workshop School in West Philadelphia, which helped transform the experience of the students in the area. I believe this is a great example of how 21st Century STEM education can work in Philly.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, it must be at least $15. This is a state issue, but I believe Philadelphia can lead the way with the creation of massive public works program that will create an abundance of $15 and higher wage jobs in support of community projects and services.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe our school system is underfunded and will need a renewed commitment to local funding as we battle the state to receive our fair share.

But I also believe the disparities in our education system reflect the growing economic inequity in our city. If we don’t confront the issue of poverty, I don’t believe our education system will overcome this disparity. It is why I am so focused on the creation of a public works program as the biggest intervention we can make in the battle against poverty. A commitment to the stabilization of district-run schools through a New Deal approach to hiring. A major employment drive to hire teachers’ aides, teachers assistants, NTAs, and support professionals, targeting that hiring to the neighborhoods where our schools our located.

If this job creation is in service of more staffing for our schools, I believe we can advance educational outcomes and equity while simultaneously battling poverty. That would be a powerful win/win.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes. My platform includes the creation of a progressive wage tax. I propose that we exempt the first $30,000 of earnings from the wage tax. I’m a strong believer that moving to a tax code that relies more heavily on commercial real estate taxes and broad-based, low-rate taxes, like gross receipts, will be more progressive, have fewer loopholes, and contribute to a stronger local economy that will generate more tax revenue. I wrote the legislation that exempted the first $100,000 of business income, which helped tens of thousands (in fact the majority) of Philadelphia businesses survive and grow. These are the small businesses, freelancers and independent contractors that keep money in our neighborhoods and lay the foundation for a strong local economy.

I would like to bring this same approach to wage taxes.

X

Justin DiBerardinis

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

If I had 10 million additional dollars in the city budget, I would invest all of it in the creation of publicly funded, living wage work to serve our communities. I would hire a teacher’s aide in every classroom, people to plant trees, home aides to care for elderly residents and maintenance workers to keep our streets clean. I would like to invest vastly more than $10 million in this but it’s a good start. I believe this is the most powerful way for our city to fight poverty. I call it the New Deal for Philadelphia.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We need to vastly expand access to high speed and affordable mass transit. High speed bus service is the best option for Philadelphia, dedicated bus lanes on major roads so that riders can quickly get to Center City or to the train lines will help grow ridership. To ease access and make it more affordable, eliminating transfers would also increase the use of buses and trains.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Philadelphia and Pennsylvania were willing to invest billions to lure Amazon to our city. I wish we had the political will to spend that much on supporting and fostering a local economy. I believe we can muster that will.

Additionally, I think we have to reform the worst municipal tax code in America. It punishes small local businesses while benefiting large national corporations. It isn’t a level playing field and we have crushed the entrepreneurial spirit in our cities. I believe we need to invest in the infrastructure of our commercial corridors and not wait until a community gentrifies before we make those investments.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

The most important thing we can do is commit ourselves to the creation of public sector work for people to serve their communities. I would like that to be the signature, defining public program of this city. A commitment to use our public resources to fight poverty and build equity. Every school, park, and library should be a job creation engine for the communities that they serve.

I also believe a commitment to workforce development that starts early, during high school years will prepare teens to enter the workforce. We do this at Bartram’s Garden, where I have led the program for the last 6 years. We now have 50 high school students from Bartram’s High who have jobs at the Garden. Serving their community, developing job skills, and getting paid.

Lastly, mass transit and the ability to reach job centers is absolutely vital to fighting poverty in our poorest communities.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. We built our education system around the myth that college is for everyone and the only path to employment. This has created a college debt crisis and a generation of young adults who haven’t acquired the job skills that they need for our current economy.

My work at Bartram’s Garden has demonstrated this commitment to job training. Additionally I think we need a recommitment to vocational and STEM education at the High School level. We partnered with the Workshop School in West Philadelphia, which helped transform the experience of the students in the area. I believe this is a great example of how 21st Century STEM education can work in Philly.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, it must be at least $15. This is a state issue, but I believe Philadelphia can lead the way with the creation of massive public works program that will create an abundance of $15 and higher wage jobs in support of community projects and services.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe our school system is underfunded and will need a renewed commitment to local funding as we battle the state to receive our fair share.

But I also believe the disparities in our education system reflect the growing economic inequity in our city. If we don’t confront the issue of poverty, I don’t believe our education system will overcome this disparity. It is why I am so focused on the creation of a public works program as the biggest intervention we can make in the battle against poverty. A commitment to the stabilization of district-run schools through a New Deal approach to hiring. A major employment drive to hire teachers’ aides, teachers assistants, NTAs, and support professionals, targeting that hiring to the neighborhoods where our schools our located.

If this job creation is in service of more staffing for our schools, I believe we can advance educational outcomes and equity while simultaneously battling poverty. That would be a powerful win/win.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes. My platform includes the creation of a progressive wage tax. I propose that we exempt the first $30,000 of earnings from the wage tax. I’m a strong believer that moving to a tax code that relies more heavily on commercial real estate taxes and broad-based, low-rate taxes, like gross receipts, will be more progressive, have fewer loopholes, and contribute to a stronger local economy that will generate more tax revenue. I wrote the legislation that exempted the first $100,000 of business income, which helped tens of thousands (in fact the majority) of Philadelphia businesses survive and grow. These are the small businesses, freelancers and independent contractors that keep money in our neighborhoods and lay the foundation for a strong local economy.

I would like to bring this same approach to wage taxes.

Joseph A Diorio

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Joseph A Diorio

Running for City Council at large

No response

Wayne Edmund Dorsey

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Wayne Edmund Dorsey

Running for City Council at large

No response

Beth Finn

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would invest in repairing our critical infrastructure systems: removing the lead and asbestos from our schools, updating the almost century-old water mains, and repairing our pothole-ridden streets. We must address these challenges while they are still manageable. We must protect the health and safety of students. 73% of our public school buildings don’t have air conditioning, which creates unsafe conditions during the hotter months. Lead paint chips are falling from the ceilings of our children’s schools. Water mains have been breaking across Philadelphia, causing health and safety issues and significant expense. Potholes cause issues not just for drivers but also for users of public transit, pedestrians, and cyclists. Ignoring the basic maintenance of our infrastructure will lead to catastrophic failures of our critical city systems.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Public transportation would function best as a public utility, as it is in much of Europe and Asia. Public transportation helps the greater good by benefiting employers and businesses, reducing carbon emissions, and improving the quality of life for residents. Accessible and affordable public transportation provides people with the personal freedom to fully participate in their communities. That’s why I support a low-income monthly transit pass for qualifying residents. I will advocate for increasing dedicated local transit funding. To increase revenue, we need to expand market-based pricing for metered parking during peak hours, adding a few cents/gallon to the gas tax, and implementing a special income tax for transit. Technology can help address some of these challenges with things like real-time bus schedules and a user-friendly transit app. The redrawing of our bus routes must be done in a way that maximizes efficiency and convenience for Philadelphians who take public transportation. City planners, not politicians, must have authority over this project.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need jobs and we need to make it easy for small businesses to operate in the city. I support smart entrepreneurship programs that support community needs. We must also add new entrepreneurship programs to schools that offer internship opportunities to students. We can make our city the next incubator for homegrown entrepreneurship.

We start with our small business permitting process, with an emphasis on supporting women- and minority-owned businesses. We engage the tech community through a city-sponsored hackathon contest. Boston did this very thing in 2015 and now has a user-friendly streamlined small business permitting process.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • I will strengthen and expand current city policies that promote hiring from these groups and streamline the business loan process. I will use our existing network of RCOs to help match community needs with new economic development grants. I’ll work to tear down the current systems that reward insider relationships and pay-to-play politics.
  • We need to provide support for individuals post-incarceration to help them transition back into the workforce. I support career services for citizens during incarceration, before release, and after through halfway house services.
  • We must make improvements to the small business permitting process. In 2015, Boston worked to implement a new system for residents to receive small business permits. They were experiencing similar problems to Philadelphia: it takes business owners entirely too long to receive their permit and the process is too difficult. Boston created a new permit system to make it more efficient to receive the permit and build a better relationship with business owners and the government. Working with the thriving tech community here in Philadelphia, we can sponsor a hackathon to create tools to streamline this process.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. I fully support the Philadelphia Public School district implementing entrepreneurship tracks, summer boot camps, improved career services, and more support staff and guidance counselors in schools. By implementing work study programs, students get real world job training and are able to start receiving a paycheck. As an alternative to four-year colleges, we need to provide apprenticeships and vocational training that match city needs, entrepreneurship, and existing businesses and industries.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The minimum wage is supposed to be the least amount someone needs to provide themselves with the basic necessities. The current minimum wage falls far short of that goal and is unacceptable. Earning a livable wage is crucial to ending the cycle of poverty and to afford basic necessities is a crucial component of affordable housing. People should not have to work two or three jobs (or more) to afford the basic necessities. Breaking the cycle of poverty requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses income, housing, education, healthy lifestyles, transportation, and quality of life.

I support expanding on Mayor Kenney’s plan for a $15/hour minimum wage for city employees. Because of a state law, the city cannot mandate a minimum wage. We can encourage businesses to do the right thing. I will start with our large non-profit medical and educational institutions, which are some of the largest employers in the city.

I will use my office to organize community events that bring together assistance programs that address food and housing security like Bethesda Project and mental health services like Healthy Minds Philly.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I will create a public bank in Philadelphia that will help pay for the improvements we need in our public schools. Right now, the city loses [money] every year in fees from putting our money in corporate banks. The money saved will be spent to fix our crumbling schools, hire more teachers and counselors, and keep schools open that are at risk of closing. We must invest in the education of young people and we must have a plan to pay for it. Though we should demand the funding we deserve from Harrisburg, we cannot rely on them to save us in this situation.

My strategic plan for K-12 public education is to expand the governance board recommendations: fiduciary accountability through regular financial reports and an audit every year; program accountability using data to evaluate student outcomes, an independent review after the third year, and annual public reports; transparency by having big decisions announced in a public format, accessibility by having public meetings to get input from community members; and equity to ensure equal opportunity for all students in the city.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I believe in progressive taxation, transparency, and accountability. We need a tax structure that is coherent and equitable. The current city wage tax does not support these ideas. We need a serious, long-term plan for overhauling the focus of our tax code so that it is taxing wealth instead of workers. In the immediate future, I will advocate for an Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income Philadelphians. These earners are already identified via the Federal “You Earned IT” EITC program. We should return any paid city wage tax to these people as well.

X

Beth Finn

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would invest in repairing our critical infrastructure systems: removing the lead and asbestos from our schools, updating the almost century-old water mains, and repairing our pothole-ridden streets. We must address these challenges while they are still manageable. We must protect the health and safety of students. 73% of our public school buildings don’t have air conditioning, which creates unsafe conditions during the hotter months. Lead paint chips are falling from the ceilings of our children’s schools. Water mains have been breaking across Philadelphia, causing health and safety issues and significant expense. Potholes cause issues not just for drivers but also for users of public transit, pedestrians, and cyclists. Ignoring the basic maintenance of our infrastructure will lead to catastrophic failures of our critical city systems.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Public transportation would function best as a public utility, as it is in much of Europe and Asia. Public transportation helps the greater good by benefiting employers and businesses, reducing carbon emissions, and improving the quality of life for residents. Accessible and affordable public transportation provides people with the personal freedom to fully participate in their communities. That’s why I support a low-income monthly transit pass for qualifying residents. I will advocate for increasing dedicated local transit funding. To increase revenue, we need to expand market-based pricing for metered parking during peak hours, adding a few cents/gallon to the gas tax, and implementing a special income tax for transit. Technology can help address some of these challenges with things like real-time bus schedules and a user-friendly transit app. The redrawing of our bus routes must be done in a way that maximizes efficiency and convenience for Philadelphians who take public transportation. City planners, not politicians, must have authority over this project.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We need jobs and we need to make it easy for small businesses to operate in the city. I support smart entrepreneurship programs that support community needs. We must also add new entrepreneurship programs to schools that offer internship opportunities to students. We can make our city the next incubator for homegrown entrepreneurship.

We start with our small business permitting process, with an emphasis on supporting women- and minority-owned businesses. We engage the tech community through a city-sponsored hackathon contest. Boston did this very thing in 2015 and now has a user-friendly streamlined small business permitting process.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • I will strengthen and expand current city policies that promote hiring from these groups and streamline the business loan process. I will use our existing network of RCOs to help match community needs with new economic development grants. I’ll work to tear down the current systems that reward insider relationships and pay-to-play politics.
  • We need to provide support for individuals post-incarceration to help them transition back into the workforce. I support career services for citizens during incarceration, before release, and after through halfway house services.
  • We must make improvements to the small business permitting process. In 2015, Boston worked to implement a new system for residents to receive small business permits. They were experiencing similar problems to Philadelphia: it takes business owners entirely too long to receive their permit and the process is too difficult. Boston created a new permit system to make it more efficient to receive the permit and build a better relationship with business owners and the government. Working with the thriving tech community here in Philadelphia, we can sponsor a hackathon to create tools to streamline this process.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. I fully support the Philadelphia Public School district implementing entrepreneurship tracks, summer boot camps, improved career services, and more support staff and guidance counselors in schools. By implementing work study programs, students get real world job training and are able to start receiving a paycheck. As an alternative to four-year colleges, we need to provide apprenticeships and vocational training that match city needs, entrepreneurship, and existing businesses and industries.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The minimum wage is supposed to be the least amount someone needs to provide themselves with the basic necessities. The current minimum wage falls far short of that goal and is unacceptable. Earning a livable wage is crucial to ending the cycle of poverty and to afford basic necessities is a crucial component of affordable housing. People should not have to work two or three jobs (or more) to afford the basic necessities. Breaking the cycle of poverty requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses income, housing, education, healthy lifestyles, transportation, and quality of life.

I support expanding on Mayor Kenney’s plan for a $15/hour minimum wage for city employees. Because of a state law, the city cannot mandate a minimum wage. We can encourage businesses to do the right thing. I will start with our large non-profit medical and educational institutions, which are some of the largest employers in the city.

I will use my office to organize community events that bring together assistance programs that address food and housing security like Bethesda Project and mental health services like Healthy Minds Philly.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I will create a public bank in Philadelphia that will help pay for the improvements we need in our public schools. Right now, the city loses [money] every year in fees from putting our money in corporate banks. The money saved will be spent to fix our crumbling schools, hire more teachers and counselors, and keep schools open that are at risk of closing. We must invest in the education of young people and we must have a plan to pay for it. Though we should demand the funding we deserve from Harrisburg, we cannot rely on them to save us in this situation.

My strategic plan for K-12 public education is to expand the governance board recommendations: fiduciary accountability through regular financial reports and an audit every year; program accountability using data to evaluate student outcomes, an independent review after the third year, and annual public reports; transparency by having big decisions announced in a public format, accessibility by having public meetings to get input from community members; and equity to ensure equal opportunity for all students in the city.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I believe in progressive taxation, transparency, and accountability. We need a tax structure that is coherent and equitable. The current city wage tax does not support these ideas. We need a serious, long-term plan for overhauling the focus of our tax code so that it is taxing wealth instead of workers. In the immediate future, I will advocate for an Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income Philadelphians. These earners are already identified via the Federal “You Earned IT” EITC program. We should return any paid city wage tax to these people as well.

Sandra Dungee Glenn

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would invest in Adult education to address the high illiteracy rate among Philadelphia’s adult population. Illiteracy creates a major barrier to employment. The Center for Literacy estimates that 550,000 Philadelphians are considered low-literate. On the other hand, there are about 32,000 online advertised job postings in the Philadelphia area. … A sustainable model would be to embed the programs within the target industry so personnel costs could be absorbed as part of their ongoing professional development. A $10 million investment in capacity building would pay for program development, curriculum development, and negotiating strategic partnerships and staff training.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Public transportation, SEPTA, is vitally important to Philadelphia residents, especially low wage workers, students, and people of color. … So, many Philadelphians rely on SEPTA every day and it is urgent that public transportation is accessible for all populations. At this time, there are reduced fare programs that people can qualify for, and there are some accommodations for people with physical challenges accessing our stations. I would work to expand those accessibility measures, for example: encouraging SEPTA to process these “Riders with Disabilities" requests online instead of in-person at only two locations, and to offer more pathways to qualify for reduced fares. Green initiatives in our city need to focus funding on our transportation infrastructure to expand, repair and maintain public services that are designed with every Philadelphian in mind.

We need to increase both state and regional funding for public transportation. Currently, the five southeastern counties provide just 11% of SEPTA's funding. This is woefully low when compared to other metro regions like New York, Boston and Chicago. More regional funding would support additional lines for reverse commuting that connects Philadelphia residents to jobs in the suburbs.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

  • Incentivize the creation of incubators and accelerators on underdeveloped business corridors to incentivize and accelerate the growth of businesses that are owned, operated by and employ people from the community. This will unleash new entrepreneurial talent and stimulate workforce development.
  • Amend the business tax to stop taxing property and payroll of Philadelphia based small businesses thus encouraging them to stay and grow (add employees) in the city.
  • Use Council’s oversight authority to ensure the City Treasurer and City Solicitor remove city deposits from lending institutions that fail to provide equitable access to small business loans
  • Create Service in Lieu of Taxes (SILOT) agreements with Philadelphia’s large institutional nonprofits to increase local purchasing of supplies and services by 30%.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Expand adult literacy and expungement programs so residents qualify for available jobs. The Center for Literacy estimates that 550,000 Philadelphians are considered low-literate.
  • Create Service in Lieu of Taxes (SILOT) agreements with Philadelphia’s large institutional nonprofits to require them to commit to specific investments in workforce development, contracting services, and/or educational programs that benefit residents and businesses in specific zip codes.
  • In each of the next 5 years, identify 10 “Transformation Zones” that will target Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund and other state/local incentives to business start-up, growth, and expansion linked to neighborhood-based job training and internships; affordable workforce housing; sustainable public spaces; and school-based partnerships.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. We can expand apprenticeship and dual enrollment collaborations between the School District, industry, community college, and our universities to directly connect students to growth industries and professions.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The current minimum wage is inadequate to support decent housing and healthy nutrition. Housing prices (purchase and rental) are going up faster than wages, so working class and low-income families cannot afford decent housing without sacrificing other necessities.

I support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the private sector and ensuring that a $15 an hour minimum wage is applied to all workers employed on public contracts and subsidized projects. I will support and help lead efforts to end state preemption of minimum wage increases. I will support rent protections to end the unfair displacement of renters and will work with local and national organizations to stop modern-day redlining of neighborhoods by banks and other lending institutions.

Moving families out of poverty while creating equity and inclusion in Philadelphia’s economic growth must be the city’s number one goal. By doing so, the city must grow jobs that pay a livable wage and preparing Philadelphia residents for the opportunities. Every city policy should have a laser focus on reducing poverty.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

The most critical problem continues to be an inadequate funding base caused by the Commonwealth’s failure to enact a weighted fair funding formula for basic education. The Mayor, City Council and the Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg must make school funding the number one priority.

In addition, I would sponsor legislation to require the School District to implement a weighted student funding allocation formula for the appropriation of all local and state dollars. Weighted student funding formula ensures that schools that have more poor students, students of color, and students with special needs receive additional money. I would also sponsor and lead a collaborative effort to create an Urban Center of Education at either Cheyney or Lincoln to increase the number of African-American teachers, and other teachers of color, in the district. Research shows that teachers of color have a positive impact on student achievement, especially for students of color.

Finally, Philadelphia must identify a dedicated funding source that is capitalized by one or several of our assets. Our Harrisburg agenda should include lobbying for additional PlanCon funding and for passage of legislation to create a Public School Facility Fund.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would support a plan put forth by Paul Levy, the African-American Chamber of Commerce and others to reduce the wage tax and business income and receipt tax (BIRT) and raise the tax on commercial real estate. I support the PA Budget and Policy Fair Share Tax Plan which decreases the tax on wages and interest while increasing the tax on wealth (dividends, capital gains, royalties, etc.). The Fair Share Tax Plan is estimated to produce $2 billion in new revenue statewide.

X

Sandra Dungee Glenn

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would invest in Adult education to address the high illiteracy rate among Philadelphia’s adult population. Illiteracy creates a major barrier to employment. The Center for Literacy estimates that 550,000 Philadelphians are considered low-literate. On the other hand, there are about 32,000 online advertised job postings in the Philadelphia area. … A sustainable model would be to embed the programs within the target industry so personnel costs could be absorbed as part of their ongoing professional development. A $10 million investment in capacity building would pay for program development, curriculum development, and negotiating strategic partnerships and staff training.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Public transportation, SEPTA, is vitally important to Philadelphia residents, especially low wage workers, students, and people of color. … So, many Philadelphians rely on SEPTA every day and it is urgent that public transportation is accessible for all populations. At this time, there are reduced fare programs that people can qualify for, and there are some accommodations for people with physical challenges accessing our stations. I would work to expand those accessibility measures, for example: encouraging SEPTA to process these “Riders with Disabilities" requests online instead of in-person at only two locations, and to offer more pathways to qualify for reduced fares. Green initiatives in our city need to focus funding on our transportation infrastructure to expand, repair and maintain public services that are designed with every Philadelphian in mind.

We need to increase both state and regional funding for public transportation. Currently, the five southeastern counties provide just 11% of SEPTA's funding. This is woefully low when compared to other metro regions like New York, Boston and Chicago. More regional funding would support additional lines for reverse commuting that connects Philadelphia residents to jobs in the suburbs.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

  • Incentivize the creation of incubators and accelerators on underdeveloped business corridors to incentivize and accelerate the growth of businesses that are owned, operated by and employ people from the community. This will unleash new entrepreneurial talent and stimulate workforce development.
  • Amend the business tax to stop taxing property and payroll of Philadelphia based small businesses thus encouraging them to stay and grow (add employees) in the city.
  • Use Council’s oversight authority to ensure the City Treasurer and City Solicitor remove city deposits from lending institutions that fail to provide equitable access to small business loans
  • Create Service in Lieu of Taxes (SILOT) agreements with Philadelphia’s large institutional nonprofits to increase local purchasing of supplies and services by 30%.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Expand adult literacy and expungement programs so residents qualify for available jobs. The Center for Literacy estimates that 550,000 Philadelphians are considered low-literate.
  • Create Service in Lieu of Taxes (SILOT) agreements with Philadelphia’s large institutional nonprofits to require them to commit to specific investments in workforce development, contracting services, and/or educational programs that benefit residents and businesses in specific zip codes.
  • In each of the next 5 years, identify 10 “Transformation Zones” that will target Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund and other state/local incentives to business start-up, growth, and expansion linked to neighborhood-based job training and internships; affordable workforce housing; sustainable public spaces; and school-based partnerships.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. We can expand apprenticeship and dual enrollment collaborations between the School District, industry, community college, and our universities to directly connect students to growth industries and professions.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

The current minimum wage is inadequate to support decent housing and healthy nutrition. Housing prices (purchase and rental) are going up faster than wages, so working class and low-income families cannot afford decent housing without sacrificing other necessities.

I support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in the private sector and ensuring that a $15 an hour minimum wage is applied to all workers employed on public contracts and subsidized projects. I will support and help lead efforts to end state preemption of minimum wage increases. I will support rent protections to end the unfair displacement of renters and will work with local and national organizations to stop modern-day redlining of neighborhoods by banks and other lending institutions.

Moving families out of poverty while creating equity and inclusion in Philadelphia’s economic growth must be the city’s number one goal. By doing so, the city must grow jobs that pay a livable wage and preparing Philadelphia residents for the opportunities. Every city policy should have a laser focus on reducing poverty.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

The most critical problem continues to be an inadequate funding base caused by the Commonwealth’s failure to enact a weighted fair funding formula for basic education. The Mayor, City Council and the Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg must make school funding the number one priority.

In addition, I would sponsor legislation to require the School District to implement a weighted student funding allocation formula for the appropriation of all local and state dollars. Weighted student funding formula ensures that schools that have more poor students, students of color, and students with special needs receive additional money. I would also sponsor and lead a collaborative effort to create an Urban Center of Education at either Cheyney or Lincoln to increase the number of African-American teachers, and other teachers of color, in the district. Research shows that teachers of color have a positive impact on student achievement, especially for students of color.

Finally, Philadelphia must identify a dedicated funding source that is capitalized by one or several of our assets. Our Harrisburg agenda should include lobbying for additional PlanCon funding and for passage of legislation to create a Public School Facility Fund.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would support a plan put forth by Paul Levy, the African-American Chamber of Commerce and others to reduce the wage tax and business income and receipt tax (BIRT) and raise the tax on commercial real estate. I support the PA Budget and Policy Fair Share Tax Plan which decreases the tax on wages and interest while increasing the tax on wealth (dividends, capital gains, royalties, etc.). The Fair Share Tax Plan is estimated to produce $2 billion in new revenue statewide.

Irina M Goldstein

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Irina M Goldstein

Running for City Council at large

No response

Asa Khalif

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Asa Khalif

Running for City Council at large

No response

Drew Murray

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Perhaps the two greatest crises I see in Philadelphia right now are the opioid epidemic and homelessness, which are in many ways connected. If I were awarded a $10 million grant, I would use that grant to fund programs to get those addicted off the streets and into treatment centers to get them out of the cycle of addiction.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Getting more people to use public transportation needs to be a priority for the City of Philadelphia. The more people who ride trains, buses and trolleys, the less people are in cars. This leads to less congestion, better mobility and a better environment. To increase ridership, SEPTA must make its bus routes more efficient. One change I would suggest is eliminating the option, with the exception of those with disabilities and the elderly, to request stops on demand. This ability/option creates a situation where buses stop at every single corner and decreases overall efficiency and slows traffic. Buses should only stop at predetermined stops. I would also like to see a study completed to determine if two east/west streets and two north/south streets in Center City could be dedicated only to buses. Increasing the efficiency of bus routes through this method must be done in a way to minimize impacts to traffic on surrounding streets. The street grid and traffic flow direction on the surrounding streets would most likely need to be revised to ensure traffic flow for those surrounding streets is as efficient as possible. The City of Philadelphia used this methodology on Chestnut Street years ago, but it failed because the surrounding street directions were not modified causing a situation where there were not enough eastbound streets available to other vehicles. If bus efficiency was improved, mobility for those in underserved communities will be greatly increased.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

The City of Philadelphia must increase the pace of reducing the wage tax. The wage tax is a hindrance to attracting new businesses to the city, especially small businesses. I would like to see the city work with the state to revisit the Levy-Sweeney plan which would lower the wage tax while at the same time increasing tax on commercial real estate. In addition to reducing the wage tax, the City of Philadelphia needs to modify the Business Income & Receipts Tax (BIRT). At a minimum, the gross revenue tax of the BIRT should be eliminated so new businesses that are not realizing a net profit are not further burdened with a tax on gross receipts. The city must also streamline the process of creating a new business so it is not so difficult to get a new business permit.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

Reducing the wage tax will increase jobs to all residents.

Increase access to training in the building trades. Training in the building trades must be more emphasized to high school students. All public high schools should offer training in building trades, automotive technicians, etc.

Policies should be enforced to greater diversify the building trade unions.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

College should be an option for all. However, it should not be portrayed as the only option. Careers in the building trades, mechanics, etc. should be better communicated to high school students and the stigma of not attending college should be eliminated for those who wish to enter the workforce directly from high school. As stated previously, all public high schools should offer training in building trades, automotive technicians, etc.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

I believe the market should determine the minimum wage. Increasing minimum wage can have the adverse effect of job loss and inflation.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe in school choice, whether it be public, charter, parochial or independent schools. The more choices available in all ZIP codes, the less inequities there will be throughout the school system. The city should promote and foster all choices in education. In addition, the City of Philadelphia should leverage the state for a fair funding formula so that more funds are available for public schools in the City of Philadelphia.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, the City should increase the pace of the wage tax reduction.

X

Drew Murray

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Perhaps the two greatest crises I see in Philadelphia right now are the opioid epidemic and homelessness, which are in many ways connected. If I were awarded a $10 million grant, I would use that grant to fund programs to get those addicted off the streets and into treatment centers to get them out of the cycle of addiction.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Getting more people to use public transportation needs to be a priority for the City of Philadelphia. The more people who ride trains, buses and trolleys, the less people are in cars. This leads to less congestion, better mobility and a better environment. To increase ridership, SEPTA must make its bus routes more efficient. One change I would suggest is eliminating the option, with the exception of those with disabilities and the elderly, to request stops on demand. This ability/option creates a situation where buses stop at every single corner and decreases overall efficiency and slows traffic. Buses should only stop at predetermined stops. I would also like to see a study completed to determine if two east/west streets and two north/south streets in Center City could be dedicated only to buses. Increasing the efficiency of bus routes through this method must be done in a way to minimize impacts to traffic on surrounding streets. The street grid and traffic flow direction on the surrounding streets would most likely need to be revised to ensure traffic flow for those surrounding streets is as efficient as possible. The City of Philadelphia used this methodology on Chestnut Street years ago, but it failed because the surrounding street directions were not modified causing a situation where there were not enough eastbound streets available to other vehicles. If bus efficiency was improved, mobility for those in underserved communities will be greatly increased.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

The City of Philadelphia must increase the pace of reducing the wage tax. The wage tax is a hindrance to attracting new businesses to the city, especially small businesses. I would like to see the city work with the state to revisit the Levy-Sweeney plan which would lower the wage tax while at the same time increasing tax on commercial real estate. In addition to reducing the wage tax, the City of Philadelphia needs to modify the Business Income & Receipts Tax (BIRT). At a minimum, the gross revenue tax of the BIRT should be eliminated so new businesses that are not realizing a net profit are not further burdened with a tax on gross receipts. The city must also streamline the process of creating a new business so it is not so difficult to get a new business permit.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

Reducing the wage tax will increase jobs to all residents.

Increase access to training in the building trades. Training in the building trades must be more emphasized to high school students. All public high schools should offer training in building trades, automotive technicians, etc.

Policies should be enforced to greater diversify the building trade unions.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

College should be an option for all. However, it should not be portrayed as the only option. Careers in the building trades, mechanics, etc. should be better communicated to high school students and the stigma of not attending college should be eliminated for those who wish to enter the workforce directly from high school. As stated previously, all public high schools should offer training in building trades, automotive technicians, etc.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

I believe the market should determine the minimum wage. Increasing minimum wage can have the adverse effect of job loss and inflation.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe in school choice, whether it be public, charter, parochial or independent schools. The more choices available in all ZIP codes, the less inequities there will be throughout the school system. The city should promote and foster all choices in education. In addition, the City of Philadelphia should leverage the state for a fair funding formula so that more funds are available for public schools in the City of Philadelphia.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, the City should increase the pace of the wage tax reduction.

Adrian Rivera Reyes

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would use a $10 million grant to begin implementing a Green New Deal in Philadelphia. A Green New Deal will give us the opportunity to tackle the two biggest crises we face: climate change and inequality. Fighting climate change will require the creation of thousands of good-paying jobs to change the way our economy works. This plan will put Philadelphia to work by retrofitting our current homes and building new, affordable, green housing; repairing our crumbling schools that are filled with lead paint and asbestos; electrifying our public transportation system and expanding that system into underserved areas, and conducting waste removal and recycling.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We need to invest in our sidewalks in a way that recognizes mobility as a human right, ensuring our most vulnerable citizens can easily and safely get around. I support ending transfer fees, providing free rides for children under 12 and free transit passes for college students, and extending the network into underserved areas where SEPTA options are scarce.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Only 2.5% of our city’s small businesses are black-owned, and we must do better to support minority-owned small businesses. I support legislation that was recently introduced in City Council to raise the threshold that triggers a formal request for proposal (RFP) process from $34,000 to $75,000. This will particularly help minority, women, and disabled-owned small businesses, who have found it difficult to compete within the RFP process. Raising the threshold would make it easier for small businesses to get their foot in the door. This is particularly important since Philadelphia saw a decline in black-owned businesses with city contracts from 45% in 2010 to 38% in 2016.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • First, we must eliminate the 10-year tax abatement that is robbing our public schools of desperately needed revenue. If we were to properly fund our education system, schools would finally have the resources to be fully staffed in terms of both educators and administrators but also para-professionals.
  • Second, we must expand our public transportation infrastructure into underserved neighborhoods. Extending bus, subway, trolley, and rail lines will not only keep us better connected, but it will create jobs in transportation and construction.
  • Third, a municipal Green New Deal will create high-paying unionized jobs for working-class Philadelphians in clean technology and infrastructure. We cannot take on climate change and toxic pollution without helping the low-income communities who are hit hardest by these problems. Retrofitting our buildings will create jobs for electricians, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, and more.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

We need to do everything we can to build pathways to high-quality, high-paying jobs. Career training programs are a vital part of this mission. I support ensuring all Philadelphians have access to career training programs by reducing out-of-pocket costs for those who want to participate. At the same time, the City must also fully fund its obligation to the Community College of Philadelphia.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Too many workers do not make anywhere close to a livable wage and are unable to provide for themselves and their families. Currently, state preemption laws prevent local municipalities from raising the minimum wage. I will lobby Harrisburg to repeal this preemption, and I will support state and federal efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. In the meantime, I will support imposing impact fees on major corporations and businesses in this city that do not pay their employees a $15/hour.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

We must fully fund our public schools by eliminating the 10-year tax abatement and collecting payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) from major non-profits like the University of Pennsylvania. This would allow us to repair our toxic school buildings; fully staff our schools with teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses; and re-open our public libraries and recreation centers. I also support the creation of a democratically-elected school board that puts our parents, teachers, and students in control of our schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

With nearly 400,000 Philadelphians living in poverty, we must reduce the tax burden on those who aren’t even receiving a living wage. That is why I support making the first $25,000 of income non-taxable for the city wage tax.

X

Adrian Rivera Reyes

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would use a $10 million grant to begin implementing a Green New Deal in Philadelphia. A Green New Deal will give us the opportunity to tackle the two biggest crises we face: climate change and inequality. Fighting climate change will require the creation of thousands of good-paying jobs to change the way our economy works. This plan will put Philadelphia to work by retrofitting our current homes and building new, affordable, green housing; repairing our crumbling schools that are filled with lead paint and asbestos; electrifying our public transportation system and expanding that system into underserved areas, and conducting waste removal and recycling.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

We need to invest in our sidewalks in a way that recognizes mobility as a human right, ensuring our most vulnerable citizens can easily and safely get around. I support ending transfer fees, providing free rides for children under 12 and free transit passes for college students, and extending the network into underserved areas where SEPTA options are scarce.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

Only 2.5% of our city’s small businesses are black-owned, and we must do better to support minority-owned small businesses. I support legislation that was recently introduced in City Council to raise the threshold that triggers a formal request for proposal (RFP) process from $34,000 to $75,000. This will particularly help minority, women, and disabled-owned small businesses, who have found it difficult to compete within the RFP process. Raising the threshold would make it easier for small businesses to get their foot in the door. This is particularly important since Philadelphia saw a decline in black-owned businesses with city contracts from 45% in 2010 to 38% in 2016.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • First, we must eliminate the 10-year tax abatement that is robbing our public schools of desperately needed revenue. If we were to properly fund our education system, schools would finally have the resources to be fully staffed in terms of both educators and administrators but also para-professionals.
  • Second, we must expand our public transportation infrastructure into underserved neighborhoods. Extending bus, subway, trolley, and rail lines will not only keep us better connected, but it will create jobs in transportation and construction.
  • Third, a municipal Green New Deal will create high-paying unionized jobs for working-class Philadelphians in clean technology and infrastructure. We cannot take on climate change and toxic pollution without helping the low-income communities who are hit hardest by these problems. Retrofitting our buildings will create jobs for electricians, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, and more.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

We need to do everything we can to build pathways to high-quality, high-paying jobs. Career training programs are a vital part of this mission. I support ensuring all Philadelphians have access to career training programs by reducing out-of-pocket costs for those who want to participate. At the same time, the City must also fully fund its obligation to the Community College of Philadelphia.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

Too many workers do not make anywhere close to a livable wage and are unable to provide for themselves and their families. Currently, state preemption laws prevent local municipalities from raising the minimum wage. I will lobby Harrisburg to repeal this preemption, and I will support state and federal efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. In the meantime, I will support imposing impact fees on major corporations and businesses in this city that do not pay their employees a $15/hour.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

We must fully fund our public schools by eliminating the 10-year tax abatement and collecting payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) from major non-profits like the University of Pennsylvania. This would allow us to repair our toxic school buildings; fully staff our schools with teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses; and re-open our public libraries and recreation centers. I also support the creation of a democratically-elected school board that puts our parents, teachers, and students in control of our schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

With nearly 400,000 Philadelphians living in poverty, we must reduce the tax burden on those who aren’t even receiving a living wage. That is why I support making the first $25,000 of income non-taxable for the city wage tax.

Mark Ross

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Mark Ross

Running for City Council at large

No response

Eryn Santamoor

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Philadelphia is experiencing a mental, emotional, and behavioral health crisis associated with substance use disorder, generational poverty, violence, and other forms of trauma. These complicated issues require our focused attention and intentional investment if we want to make meaningful progress for our children and families. I would use this grant funding to ensure our schools and neighborhoods have enough case workers, social workers, and counselors so that all of our people and families get the support they need and deserve right when they need it. My family’s own experience with substance use disorder fueled my decision to run for office; I have seen firsthand how families can not only heal, but thrive with the right resources and support.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Philadelphia is blessed with a strong mass transportation infrastructure but we can do more to improve access and performance. I believe we need to focus on improving SEPTA’s levels and scopes of service to increase ridership, and reduce the need for vehicle ownership and driving. This includes improving bus service and exploring Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to better connect our communities to each other, Center City, and neighborhood commercial corridors. In particular, we need to examine and act on transit strategies that better connect areas such as the Northeast and Northwest with the rest of Philadelphia.

SEPTA’s recent decision to extend the Norristown High Speed Line demonstrates the vitality of outlying communities, and connecting them with the city by mass transit improves Philadelphians’ access to valuable jobs.

Mass transit, however, should encourage growth in the city itself, not just make reverse commuting easier. In addition to the small changes that make differences in people’s lives like fair prices or updated bus routes to accommodate changing neighborhoods, we need to think big - be that a Navy Yard Broad Street Line (BSL) connection, more express bus lanes, or shorter headways on the Market Frankford Line (MFL) - to ensure excellent public transportation remains a bedrock part of our economy.

SEPTA should also consider incentivized pricing models using behavioral economics research to enhance ridership, including (but not limited to): free transfers between buses, subways, and trolleys; access for school-aged kids under 12 years of age; and discounted family pricing.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

In order to grow our economy, we have to focus on creating a competitive environment for small and mid-sized businesses; businesses have to find it advantageous to settle and grow in Philadelphia. In this regional, national, and global economy, Philadelphia cannot afford to fall behind. There is a lot of work to do in this regard, and City Council must lead. I plan to focus my attention on Philadelphia’s tax competitiveness (while being mindful of maintaining revenue for city services and our schools) and streamlining our business application processes.

  • Reform the tax abatement program and propose graduated property tax abatements for the real estate industry and intentionally target areas of the city that have yet to experience the benefits of development.
  • Preserve affordable housing through increased investment in programs like the Housing Trust Fund as a requirement of any adjustment to our real estate tax abatement program.
  • Simplify our tax code and improve compliance; for example, by gradually phasing out the requirement that businesses pay for estimated future revenues as part of the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT)
  • Support and elevate the work of StartupPHL, Philly Startup Leaders and other such organizations who work to recruit startups into Philadelphia’s tech and innovation ecosystem.
  • Reduce the time and cost of doing business in Philadelphia by streamlining the permitting process (i.e. consolidating applications) and decreasing wait times for receiving approvals and processing appeals.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

If elected I would focus on the following means of fostering job creation in those areas of the city that need it most.

  • Making it easier to do business in Philadelphia through … shifts in our tax code to make Philadelphia more competitive, supporting our startup and entrepreneurial community, and making it easier for business owners to interact with and receive the support they need from the city
  • Modernizing and investing in our transit system to better connect our people with job hubs, but also to boost our neighborhood commercial corridors which are in need of concentrated investment
  • Supporting and expanding our robust network of job readiness programs and opportunities. This must include increased vocational training opportunities in our public schools and new partnerships with our business community that pair trainings, jobs, and job seekers - as well as a consistent eye towards the jobs of the future to make sure our workforce development efforts are aligned with growth industries.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. On-the-job training, externships, and new in-classroom opportunities should be integrated into high school curricula to ensure that students learn skills that are aligned with growing industries. Newly established local control of the Philadelphia School District allows our public officials to lead and innovate to achieve this goal.

Successfully closing this skills gap will require a thorough audit of current efforts, and then the development of additional educational opportunities and partnerships with principals, teachers, businesses and nonprofits to ensure students are both trained and matched with good-paying jobs. I believe City Council has a role to play in convening businesses, workforce development nonprofits, and School District officials including the new School Board - as well as setting performance goals and monitoring success.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, I do not believe that the current minimum wage is sufficient and support efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour and indexing it to inflation as I am a firm believer in livable wages and reigning in growing income inequality. Livable wages are key to the ability of our residents and families to thrive, and to fostering a just and expanding economy for all Philadelphians. If elected, I will work with our Harrisburg delegation and outside advocates to lobby for state enabling legislation that would focus on a statewide raise of our minimum wage.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe in a “fair is not equal” approach to policy, especially when it comes to education. We cannot ignore that some of our students in Philadelphia receive a better public education than others. To fully address these disparities, the District must create a robust performance management program to set citywide goals and consistently monitor whether each school is meeting those goals - in order to ensure every school is matched with the right resources. As a Deputy Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, I spearheaded this type of change management work through the PhillyStat program, and if elected I would do so again in City Council on a variety of issues including our public schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes. The tax structure needs to be reformed to make Philadelphia more attractive for employers as well as residents - neither should be incentivized to move just outside City borders in order to save themselves from complex and burdensome taxes. I support continuing to reduce the wage tax and would ultimately work with our Philadelphia Delegation in the State Legislature to make it progressive while it continues to exist. ... I’m running for City Council At-Large to be a watchdog of our taxpayer dollars and to ensure inclusive economic growth, recognizing that carefully balancing a competitive tax structure and revenue generation is vital to Philadelphia’s future.

X

Eryn Santamoor

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Philadelphia is experiencing a mental, emotional, and behavioral health crisis associated with substance use disorder, generational poverty, violence, and other forms of trauma. These complicated issues require our focused attention and intentional investment if we want to make meaningful progress for our children and families. I would use this grant funding to ensure our schools and neighborhoods have enough case workers, social workers, and counselors so that all of our people and families get the support they need and deserve right when they need it. My family’s own experience with substance use disorder fueled my decision to run for office; I have seen firsthand how families can not only heal, but thrive with the right resources and support.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

Philadelphia is blessed with a strong mass transportation infrastructure but we can do more to improve access and performance. I believe we need to focus on improving SEPTA’s levels and scopes of service to increase ridership, and reduce the need for vehicle ownership and driving. This includes improving bus service and exploring Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to better connect our communities to each other, Center City, and neighborhood commercial corridors. In particular, we need to examine and act on transit strategies that better connect areas such as the Northeast and Northwest with the rest of Philadelphia.

SEPTA’s recent decision to extend the Norristown High Speed Line demonstrates the vitality of outlying communities, and connecting them with the city by mass transit improves Philadelphians’ access to valuable jobs.

Mass transit, however, should encourage growth in the city itself, not just make reverse commuting easier. In addition to the small changes that make differences in people’s lives like fair prices or updated bus routes to accommodate changing neighborhoods, we need to think big - be that a Navy Yard Broad Street Line (BSL) connection, more express bus lanes, or shorter headways on the Market Frankford Line (MFL) - to ensure excellent public transportation remains a bedrock part of our economy.

SEPTA should also consider incentivized pricing models using behavioral economics research to enhance ridership, including (but not limited to): free transfers between buses, subways, and trolleys; access for school-aged kids under 12 years of age; and discounted family pricing.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

In order to grow our economy, we have to focus on creating a competitive environment for small and mid-sized businesses; businesses have to find it advantageous to settle and grow in Philadelphia. In this regional, national, and global economy, Philadelphia cannot afford to fall behind. There is a lot of work to do in this regard, and City Council must lead. I plan to focus my attention on Philadelphia’s tax competitiveness (while being mindful of maintaining revenue for city services and our schools) and streamlining our business application processes.

  • Reform the tax abatement program and propose graduated property tax abatements for the real estate industry and intentionally target areas of the city that have yet to experience the benefits of development.
  • Preserve affordable housing through increased investment in programs like the Housing Trust Fund as a requirement of any adjustment to our real estate tax abatement program.
  • Simplify our tax code and improve compliance; for example, by gradually phasing out the requirement that businesses pay for estimated future revenues as part of the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT)
  • Support and elevate the work of StartupPHL, Philly Startup Leaders and other such organizations who work to recruit startups into Philadelphia’s tech and innovation ecosystem.
  • Reduce the time and cost of doing business in Philadelphia by streamlining the permitting process (i.e. consolidating applications) and decreasing wait times for receiving approvals and processing appeals.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

If elected I would focus on the following means of fostering job creation in those areas of the city that need it most.

  • Making it easier to do business in Philadelphia through … shifts in our tax code to make Philadelphia more competitive, supporting our startup and entrepreneurial community, and making it easier for business owners to interact with and receive the support they need from the city
  • Modernizing and investing in our transit system to better connect our people with job hubs, but also to boost our neighborhood commercial corridors which are in need of concentrated investment
  • Supporting and expanding our robust network of job readiness programs and opportunities. This must include increased vocational training opportunities in our public schools and new partnerships with our business community that pair trainings, jobs, and job seekers - as well as a consistent eye towards the jobs of the future to make sure our workforce development efforts are aligned with growth industries.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes. On-the-job training, externships, and new in-classroom opportunities should be integrated into high school curricula to ensure that students learn skills that are aligned with growing industries. Newly established local control of the Philadelphia School District allows our public officials to lead and innovate to achieve this goal.

Successfully closing this skills gap will require a thorough audit of current efforts, and then the development of additional educational opportunities and partnerships with principals, teachers, businesses and nonprofits to ensure students are both trained and matched with good-paying jobs. I believe City Council has a role to play in convening businesses, workforce development nonprofits, and School District officials including the new School Board - as well as setting performance goals and monitoring success.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, I do not believe that the current minimum wage is sufficient and support efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour and indexing it to inflation as I am a firm believer in livable wages and reigning in growing income inequality. Livable wages are key to the ability of our residents and families to thrive, and to fostering a just and expanding economy for all Philadelphians. If elected, I will work with our Harrisburg delegation and outside advocates to lobby for state enabling legislation that would focus on a statewide raise of our minimum wage.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I believe in a “fair is not equal” approach to policy, especially when it comes to education. We cannot ignore that some of our students in Philadelphia receive a better public education than others. To fully address these disparities, the District must create a robust performance management program to set citywide goals and consistently monitor whether each school is meeting those goals - in order to ensure every school is matched with the right resources. As a Deputy Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, I spearheaded this type of change management work through the PhillyStat program, and if elected I would do so again in City Council on a variety of issues including our public schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes. The tax structure needs to be reformed to make Philadelphia more attractive for employers as well as residents - neither should be incentivized to move just outside City borders in order to save themselves from complex and burdensome taxes. I support continuing to reduce the wage tax and would ultimately work with our Philadelphia Delegation in the State Legislature to make it progressive while it continues to exist. ... I’m running for City Council At-Large to be a watchdog of our taxpayer dollars and to ensure inclusive economic growth, recognizing that carefully balancing a competitive tax structure and revenue generation is vital to Philadelphia’s future.

Edwin Santana

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Edwin Santana

Running for City Council at large

No response

Billy Thompson

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Billy Thompson

Running for City Council at large

No response

Fernando Treviño

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would create a public/private partnership to secure basic support for teachers and a safe environment for our children. When my daughter Ana was bullied for almost four months, I learned that her teacher wasn’t performing up to standard in part because she was concerned about getting parking tickets, instead of being 100% focused on her students. It turns out that my neighborhood school doesn't have a parking lot and teachers have to leave their classrooms every two hours to move their cars in order to avoid a ticket. If you add this burden to the fact that my daughter’s teacher, like many teachers in Philadelphia, was spending too much of her own money buying school supplies, it’s impossible for us to demand her to provide high-quality education and a safe environment for my daughter and her classmates.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

By having free fares for children up to eight years old and for Community College students. I would also bring experts to redesign the bus routes to improve access to commercial corridors and underserved communities.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

By supporting a Small Business Bill of Rights, reducing outdated red tape, and empowering entrepreneurs. We need to promote effective policies that favor the development of neighborhood economies and close the door for the city to impose unnecessary burdens. Stealing a quote from Business Roundtable: “The key distinction is not more versus less regulation, but effective versus ineffective regulation."

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Modernize the 10-year tax abatement and reinvest some of the extra revenue into a dedicated fund to create new jobs in underserved neighborhoods.
  • Modernize the jobs pipeline to create the next generation of jobs.
  • Create a partnership with IT companies and the School District to develop industry-specific programs for high school students.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

I would work side by side with Labor to help diversify its membership, develop better training programs in communities of color to promote trade jobs, and provide tax incentives to businesses who develop their own workforce with trainings and apprenticeship opportunities.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, is not adequate. I support the City’s effort to recognize the importance of a livable wage by raising the minimum wage for its own direct employees and city contractors to $15/hour. I will support efforts to seek that all low-wage workers make a minimum wage of $15 per hour, adjusted by the cost of inflation.

I support a living wage of $15 an hour for everyone. When I ran Democracia USA and NCLR’s canvassing programs, I had the personal commitment of hiring only members of underrepresented communities and give them access to a living wage. I saw first-hand the positive impact that a living wage has on people.

A key element to lift people out of poverty is providing the opportunity to entry-level jobs that pay a living wage. The city should work not only with corporations, but with small business as well, to guarantee the right working conditions to help the city lift its citizens out of poverty.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I will propose a modernized, tiered tax-abatement system that supports first-time buyers looking for properties valued less than $350,000 and ends the 10-year abatement for properties valued over $700,000. In addition, I will support the increase of the Use and Occupancy tax to 1.5%, enact PILOTS for large non-profits, and restore the Business Income and Revenue Tax (BIRT) to pre-2018 cut levels. I also believe that the Capital-Gains school tax could be increased from 3.8% to 5%.

I believe that the crisis facing Philadelphia public schools should be at the forefront of the City’s priorities. This crisis was caused by a corrupted and inept government that misused key funding and applied a bias approach against marginalized communities.

I will support Philadelphia public schools by working with my colleagues to increase city funding for our schools and I will be a fierce advocate to demand from Harrisburg a real and fair funding formula. In the short term, I will focus my efforts to improve school safety climate, I will develop public-private partnerships to provide teachers with basic support like school supplies and easy access to parking, and I will help develop programs to educate our children in a diverse and multicultural environment as global citizens.

I believe in a system where our schools are well funded and provide a world-class education, and I’m committed to providing our children with a more comprehensive approach to basic education. An education that champions equal access for immigrants, an education that celebrates multiculturalism, and yes, an education that promotes global citizenship as a tool to open our children’s future to the world.

I’m proud to say that this vision was well received by the Nominating Panel who selected me as one of the forty-five candidates recommended for the new Board of Education to Mayor Kenney.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would. We need to focus more on commercial and real estate taxes. We should have a progressive wage tax that supports the working class and underserved communities.

X

Fernando Treviño

Running for City Council at large

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would create a public/private partnership to secure basic support for teachers and a safe environment for our children. When my daughter Ana was bullied for almost four months, I learned that her teacher wasn’t performing up to standard in part because she was concerned about getting parking tickets, instead of being 100% focused on her students. It turns out that my neighborhood school doesn't have a parking lot and teachers have to leave their classrooms every two hours to move their cars in order to avoid a ticket. If you add this burden to the fact that my daughter’s teacher, like many teachers in Philadelphia, was spending too much of her own money buying school supplies, it’s impossible for us to demand her to provide high-quality education and a safe environment for my daughter and her classmates.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

By having free fares for children up to eight years old and for Community College students. I would also bring experts to redesign the bus routes to improve access to commercial corridors and underserved communities.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

By supporting a Small Business Bill of Rights, reducing outdated red tape, and empowering entrepreneurs. We need to promote effective policies that favor the development of neighborhood economies and close the door for the city to impose unnecessary burdens. Stealing a quote from Business Roundtable: “The key distinction is not more versus less regulation, but effective versus ineffective regulation."

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

  • Modernize the 10-year tax abatement and reinvest some of the extra revenue into a dedicated fund to create new jobs in underserved neighborhoods.
  • Modernize the jobs pipeline to create the next generation of jobs.
  • Create a partnership with IT companies and the School District to develop industry-specific programs for high school students.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

I would work side by side with Labor to help diversify its membership, develop better training programs in communities of color to promote trade jobs, and provide tax incentives to businesses who develop their own workforce with trainings and apprenticeship opportunities.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No, is not adequate. I support the City’s effort to recognize the importance of a livable wage by raising the minimum wage for its own direct employees and city contractors to $15/hour. I will support efforts to seek that all low-wage workers make a minimum wage of $15 per hour, adjusted by the cost of inflation.

I support a living wage of $15 an hour for everyone. When I ran Democracia USA and NCLR’s canvassing programs, I had the personal commitment of hiring only members of underrepresented communities and give them access to a living wage. I saw first-hand the positive impact that a living wage has on people.

A key element to lift people out of poverty is providing the opportunity to entry-level jobs that pay a living wage. The city should work not only with corporations, but with small business as well, to guarantee the right working conditions to help the city lift its citizens out of poverty.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

I will propose a modernized, tiered tax-abatement system that supports first-time buyers looking for properties valued less than $350,000 and ends the 10-year abatement for properties valued over $700,000. In addition, I will support the increase of the Use and Occupancy tax to 1.5%, enact PILOTS for large non-profits, and restore the Business Income and Revenue Tax (BIRT) to pre-2018 cut levels. I also believe that the Capital-Gains school tax could be increased from 3.8% to 5%.

I believe that the crisis facing Philadelphia public schools should be at the forefront of the City’s priorities. This crisis was caused by a corrupted and inept government that misused key funding and applied a bias approach against marginalized communities.

I will support Philadelphia public schools by working with my colleagues to increase city funding for our schools and I will be a fierce advocate to demand from Harrisburg a real and fair funding formula. In the short term, I will focus my efforts to improve school safety climate, I will develop public-private partnerships to provide teachers with basic support like school supplies and easy access to parking, and I will help develop programs to educate our children in a diverse and multicultural environment as global citizens.

I believe in a system where our schools are well funded and provide a world-class education, and I’m committed to providing our children with a more comprehensive approach to basic education. An education that champions equal access for immigrants, an education that celebrates multiculturalism, and yes, an education that promotes global citizenship as a tool to open our children’s future to the world.

I’m proud to say that this vision was well received by the Nominating Panel who selected me as one of the forty-five candidates recommended for the new Board of Education to Mayor Kenney.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

Yes, I would. We need to focus more on commercial and real estate taxes. We should have a progressive wage tax that supports the working class and underserved communities.

Hena Veit

Running for City Council at large

No response

X

Hena Veit

Running for City Council at large

No response

Lou Lanni

Running for City Council in the 1st District

No response

X

Lou Lanni

Running for City Council in the 1st District

No response

Lauren Vidas

Running for City Council in the 2nd District

No response

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Lauren Vidas

Running for City Council in the 2nd District

No response

Jannie L. Blackwell

Running for City Council in the 3rd District

No response

X

Jannie L. Blackwell

Running for City Council in the 3rd District

No response

Ron Adams

Running for City Council in the 4th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would give it to SEPTA to help close the $12 million gap that comes from getting rid of the transfer fee.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I think expanding the bus routes and getting rid of the SEPTA Transfer fee is a great first step. Next, an extension of lines and trollies so that more people can use public transit would be an area I would focus on. Finally, I would strive to re-invigorate transit-oriented development. I think projects in the past, like the one at 46th and Market can be successful now that we are out of a recession. This last one is big, because with good leadership and energy we can revitalize economic corridors in areas where it is much needed.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We currently make businesses pay taxes a year ahead of time, I would work to alleviate this burden on small businesses. I also would increase funding to support more worker co-op programs to help with worker-owned businesses.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

First, I would take another run at [transit oriented development] in areas that are in need of economic revitalization. The last time the city tried the country was in a recession. I think a focused effort, bringing together community stakeholders, could really find success where there was failure in the past. Second, as stated earlier, I would increase funding support to worker Co-Op programs. Third, part of reforming the tax abatement should be geared towards offering bigger breaks for people looking to build in under-resourced neighborhoods. So maybe we take the abatement down to 8 years, or cap the amount at say $500,000, but make an exception for areas that are in dire need of economic development.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, I think we should expand our career technical programs to help align educational and job opportunities post-high school. It’s past time we stop selling the only option after high school being college, and in many times, back-breaking loans. I also think there are great community partners like the Philadelphia Youth Network that can help the city target and reach out to unemployed youth.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. We should lobby the state to increase the minimum wage to $15. I also think Council should investigate tax breaks for business in the city that do so without a state mandate.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

This is a hard question that requires a long-term solution. In Philadelphia we have created special admission schools and Charters to basically track kids. You go to those schools first if you can get in, and then “settle” for your neighborhood school. We need to set standards for all schools starting in early primary education.

The first step is funding to make sure these environments are safe and fit for our kids. That means making sure that asbestos and lead paint are a thing of the past.

Finally, we need to find a way to better communication between the schools and neighborhood parents. We need to create a paid position where stakeholders from the neighborhood have a say in the future of their schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would like to see us move to a progressive city wage tax as opposed to one flat tax which puts an unfair burden on our poorer residents.

X

Ron Adams

Running for City Council in the 4th District

If you received a $10 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would give it to SEPTA to help close the $12 million gap that comes from getting rid of the transfer fee.

How will you increase access to public transportation in Philly?

I think expanding the bus routes and getting rid of the SEPTA Transfer fee is a great first step. Next, an extension of lines and trollies so that more people can use public transit would be an area I would focus on. Finally, I would strive to re-invigorate transit-oriented development. I think projects in the past, like the one at 46th and Market can be successful now that we are out of a recession. This last one is big, because with good leadership and energy we can revitalize economic corridors in areas where it is much needed.

What do you plan to do to make Philadelphia more attractive for small business owners?

We currently make businesses pay taxes a year ahead of time, I would work to alleviate this burden on small businesses. I also would increase funding to support more worker co-op programs to help with worker-owned businesses.

What are three specific steps you will take to expand jobs in sections ofthe city where the majority of residents experience severe economic hardship?

First, I would take another run at [transit oriented development] in areas that are in need of economic revitalization. The last time the city tried the country was in a recession. I think a focused effort, bringing together community stakeholders, could really find success where there was failure in the past. Second, as stated earlier, I would increase funding support to worker Co-Op programs. Third, part of reforming the tax abatement should be geared towards offering bigger breaks for people looking to build in under-resourced neighborhoods. So maybe we take the abatement down to 8 years, or cap the amount at say $500,000, but make an exception for areas that are in dire need of economic development.

Do you plan to help people go directly from high school into the workforce? If so, how? If not, why not?

Yes, I think we should expand our career technical programs to help align educational and job opportunities post-high school. It’s past time we stop selling the only option after high school being college, and in many times, back-breaking loans. I also think there are great community partners like the Philadelphia Youth Network that can help the city target and reach out to unemployed youth.

Do you think the current minimum wage is adequate for decent housing and healthy nutrition? If not, how will you address this?

No. We should lobby the state to increase the minimum wage to $15. I also think Council should investigate tax breaks for business in the city that do so without a state mandate.

How will you address disparities in Philadelphia's public education system?

This is a hard question that requires a long-term solution. In Philadelphia we have created special admission schools and Charters to basically track kids. You go to those schools first if you can get in, and then “settle” for your neighborhood school. We need to set standards for all schools starting in early primary education.

The first step is funding to make sure these environments are safe and fit for our kids. That means making sure that asbestos and lead paint are a thing of the past.

Finally, we need to find a way to better communication between the schools and neighborhood parents. We need to create a paid position where stakeholders from the neighborhood have a say in the future of their schools.

Would you change the city’s wage tax structure? If so, why and how would you do it?

I would like to see us move to a progressive city wage tax as opposed to one flat tax which puts an unfair burden on our poorer residents.

Angel L Cruz

Running for City Council in the 7th District

No response

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Angel L Cruz

Running for City Council in the 7th District

No response

Patrick Jones

Running for City Council in the 8th District

No response

X

Patrick Jones

Running for City Council in the 8th District

No response