Last week, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) submitted testimony recognizing the budget situation currently facing the Philadelphia School District.  The GPCC has long been an advocate for appropriate school funding levels and will continue to advocate in Harrisburg for restoration of funding for K-12 education to levels above those proposed in the Governor’s budget.

However, the GPCC is not prepared to support additional revenue measures in Philadelphia until we can be sure that we have undergone an exhaustive examination of all possible avenues of savings.  As we have argued before, more accountability and transparency need to be brought to the School District in order to realize additional ways to save money.  We cannot risk losing more jobs in Philadelphia by adopting a more burdensome tax policy before discovering any potential savings and efficiencies present in the school budget.

The GPCC understands that there is serious consideration and discussion surrounding a possible increase to Philadelphia’s real estate tax.  The GPCC would like to reiterate and emphasize our position less than a week ago that we cannot support any increase to the real estate tax.  A hike in the real estate tax affects the business community just as it affects residents of this great city. Almost half of the revenue raised by the real estate tax comes from levies on commercial property.   Last year, the GPCC reluctantly supported the request for a temporary increase in the real estate tax, which was passed and levied.   Further increases to the real estate tax risk driving businesses, jobs, and people from Philadelphia at a time when our economy should be recovering.

We ask you to contact your Council representatives and urge them to oppose any increase to the real estate tax.