Priorities for a Better Philadelphia

How are we going to pay for it all? A Public Bank for the Public Good

What’s a public bank? Watch this quick video for a fast explainer!

A public bank is a tool to pay for the things we need. It's how we take our money back from corporate Wall Street Banks and reinvest our tax dollars here in our neighborhoods.

It's how we fund our schools, fix our roads, pay for a Philly Green New Deal, and even lower our taxes.

We can save hundreds of millions of dollars every year. We can refinance our debt to much lower interest rates. We can invest our money in projects here at home.

A corporate bank is for the corporate good. A public bank is for the public good. It's a place for the city to hold its money. We can eventually use it to give banking services to the unbanked and underbanked.

So how does a public bank work, exactly?

The city has a budget of $5 billion that comes from the taxes and fees we collect. This money has to be stored somewhere; we can’t stuff it under our mattress! Today, we store that money in corporate Wall Street banks. For the privilege of keeping our money there, we are paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees and those corporate banks are investing that money in things that may not match our values, things like the tobacco industry, gas & oil pipelines, and for-profit prisons. They certainly are not investing that money back here at home in Philadelphia.

With a public bank, we can invest our money here.

Strong Public Schools

We need to properly fund our schools to provide teachers with the support staff and resources they need to educate and empower young people. My mom is a retired teacher and union member with the National Educators’ Association. The relationships I had with my teachers had a tremendous influence on the subjects I excelled in and the career path I have pursued. The high turnover rate...

...of our teachers puts a strain on resources, hurts students, and is a constant stress for administrators. 75% of our public schools don't have air conditioning.

At the start of the 2018 school year, five out of the first seven days of school had early dismissals because of the unbearable heatwave. There’s lead paint still covering the walls of our schools, posing a health risk to everyone inside. We must provide an environment conducive to our students learning and our teachers teaching.

We need to do more and we will do more to support teachers and students.

Economic Opportunity That Helps Everyone

26% of people in our city live below the poverty line. Economic inequality affects all of us. When residents struggle, neighborhoods struggle. The minimum wage is supposed to meet our basic cost of living. I will fight for a $15 minimum wage for Philadelphia...

We can lessen the divide between the haves and have-nots by supporting businesses that support our residents. There is no quick fix but there are common-sense steps we must take now.

Gun Violence and Crime

Gun violence is a public health emergency. We need to get the guns off of our streets. I support common gun sense reforms. Gun violence and crime is also connected to poverty and a lack of alternatives and opportunities. I am committed to ensuring all Philadelphian have the same opportunities, regardless of zip code...

I will work with communities to take on the root causes: poverty and a lack of opportunities that start with our schools and neighborhoods. We need job skills training program for young adults. We must end the school-to-prison pipeline. I will work hard to create a public bank and increase funding to our public schools for repairs, support staff, mandatory conflict-resolution trainings, and after-school programming.

Criminal Justice Reform

The number of our residents currently on parole is unconscionable: 42,000. I support major parole reforms and we must do more to support the formerly incarcerated and protect the rights of those currently on parole. I support community policing practices to foster a trust with residents that’s rooted in strong community partnerships and dialogue, including an in-school presence so young people and officers can build positive relationships. We must end stop and frisk, expand "ban the box," and eliminate cash bail...

Stop and frisk is unconstitutional and the data proves the practice is racist and ineffective. African-Americans are 48% of the city population but 69% of the stop and frisks. Less than 1% of frisks lead to the recovery of a firearm. I will fight to eliminate the cash bail system. The US is one of only two countries in the world still using this unfair practice that favors the wealthy and punishes the poor. I support expanding “ban the box” to include all areas where someone with a criminal record faces discrimination, including college applications. Our system is broken. We need action now.

Investing in Infrastructure

A strong infrastructure is at the core of how we provide all residents with the same opportunities. I will fight to make sure the infrastructure of our city works for all Philadelphians. Investing in our infrastructure creates jobs, saves millions of dollars in the long run, and ensures these vital systems are safe and reliable for many years to come...

Philadelphia's crumbling infrastructure was built decades ago and has not been properly maintained. Our water pipes burst frequently causing the loss of millions of gallons of water, safety issues, and service interruptions for miles. Our roads are filled with tire-busting potholes that hurt our economy. Reacting to these failing infrastructure disasters at the point of crisis comes with exorbitant costs and endangers public safety. We can do better. By responding to early warning signs and anticipating and prioritizing our infrastructure needs, we can fix small challenges before they become big ones. As a thriving city in the richest country in the world, we must be able to guarantee basic dignities like clean air and clean water to all residents.

Green New Deal

I support a Green New Deal for Philadelphia: a dramatic increase in public works projects and incentivization programs that transition our city to 100% renewable energy within 10 years. We need to implement data-driven policies that reduce our carbon footprint as a city...

I will implement tax incentives for companies to decontaminate, restore, and build renewable energy projects on this site. We must act fast to reduce the negative effects we have forced on our planet. It takes ideas big and small to meet our goal.

Protect Our Environment

Protecting our environment is also about public health. The health of our environment is directly connected to your health and mine. Clean air. Clean water. Access to green spaces. I support a plastic bag ban to reduce our plastic use. Right now, Philadelphia uses over 1 billion plastic bags yearly. We can fix this...

Rooftop gardens are another way to cool off the city and provide fresh food for people who don’t often have access to affordable healthy food. We must continue our leadership in the area of stormwater management and expand it to include other environmental reforms.

Affordable Housing and Thriving Neighborhoods

Philadelphia is a city on the rise. We must be smart and manage that growth by protecting the incredible history and rich culture that make our city so special. I will fight to protect our residents to make sure they’re not priced out of the neighborhoods they have lived in for generations. We have a shortage of housing in general in Philadelphia, and all the new units we are building are very expensive. We need to use programs like inclusionary zoning to make sure people at all income levels can afford to live in our great city...

Tax abatements and other incentive programs are also very effective and helpful when done responsibly. Mixed-income neighborhoods are more economically stable and offer rich cultural diversity, unique shops, and exciting restaurants. Together, we can ensure that all of us can afford to live and thrive in Philadelphia.

Racial Justice

People of color start at a disadvantage in everything from education to getting a home loan because of institutionalized racism in our society. It is incumbent upon us to recognize these systemic injustices and work to dismantle them in all that we do. Many of these biases are unconscious and are ingrained from years of subtle messaging...

When we know better, we must do better. We must take steps to counter these factors to ensure that all people are starting from a level playing field. Providing advantages to try to counter the years of marginalization they have experienced does not take away from those of us who have been privileged. There is enough for all of us.

Smart Public Transportation

I provide SEPTA passes for my team staff because public transportation is about freedom: the farther we are able to travel, the greater our freedom. Our transit system needs to be convenient, safe, and reliable. I will work to update our public transportation for the 21st century with smart technology, an expanded network of protected bike lanes, and enhancements for pedestrian to make our system reliable, safe, and accessible for every neighborhood in our city. With smart investments in technology and infrastructure, we will build a world-class public transportation system.

Tax Abatement

Now that our housing market is strong, the abatement is preventing much needed funds for the city and residents. I support modifying the current 10-year tax abatement to reduce the length for businesses and end the inclusion of residential properties...

...The economic growth from the tax abatement for businesses results in job creation and tax revenue for the city, which is far more valuable than the revenue from ending the abatement. The cost of construction in Philadelphia is the same as New York City. However, the return on investment is only a quarter here. The tax abatement program must continue to include construction for business and industry, though potentially at a shorter length.

Beverage Tax

We all deserve the same opportunities, regardless of zip code. Poor residents are stuck in cycles of poverty because they don’t have access to the same opportunities as wealthier residents. On one hand, the soda tax is regressive and why I want to find an alternate funding source, like a public bank for Philadelphia. On the other hand, the soda tax is funding critical programs that we desperately need, including Pre-K and school repairs...

...neighborhood recreation centers, and community programs like Rebuild, which will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood projects and supports minority and women-owned businesses. So I will work to find an alternate funding source and we must continue to fund these programs crucial to the future health of our city and residents.