PHILADELPHIA — Today, Mayor Jim Kenney delivered to Philadelphia City Council the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 operating budget, capital program, and Five Year Plan that will serve as financial blueprints through the end of the current administration and provide a strong foundation for the city’s next chapter. The documents can be found online.
“I am more optimistic than ever about Philadelphia’s growth, and the opportunities we can create for our residents and future generations,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “This year’s budget reflects the priorities shared by residents and my administration around public safety, educational opportunity, neighborhood investments and services, and inclusive growth. With this budget we will build on our success and finish with energy, momentum, and a strong foundation for our city’s next chapter.”
The 2024 budget will cap eight years of historic investments that reflect the Kenney Administration’s priorities in areas of education, public safety, thriving neighborhoods, and inclusive economic growth.
Investing in quality education:
Mayor Kenney continues to build on the historic commitments to public education that he has made over two terms by investing more than $1.4 billion over the FY24-28 Five Year Plan in the School District of Philadelphia, in addition to local tax revenues that support the District. FY24 includes $282 million in funding for the School District of Philadelphia, which represents a 171 percent increase from FY16 when Mayor Kenney came into office.
- Community College of Philadelphia and Catto Scholarship — The budget invests more than $51 million in the Community College of Philadelphia in FY24, with $11.6 million dedicated to the Octavius Catto Scholarship which enables first-time students to attend college tuition-free, and receive supports like food, books, and transportation stipends to successfully earn their degree. To date, over 1,400 students have enrolled in CCP through this opportunity. Additionally, the City will provide $15 million for capital needs at CCP.
- Free quality pre-K and Community Schools— The plan continues the expansion of the PHLpreK program supported by revenue from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. Since launching in 2017, PHLpreK has benefited more than 13,000 children and counting. This plan proposes 950 new pre-K seats to be funded this year, for a total of 5,250 seats, providing free and high-quality early learning services that lay a critical foundation for children and families.The budget will also fund increased staffing in large Community Schools to provide expanded engagement with families as well as more supportive services for students and their families.
- Digital equity — During the pandemic, the City worked with a number of partners to launch PHLConnectED, a program that has provided over 22,500 free internet connections for student households and is addressing persistent inequities in digital access. The FY24-28 Five Year Plan will invest $8.3 million, paired with new federal resources, that will continue to address barriers to internet access and digital devices.
Keeping residents safe:
This budget makes critical investments in the City’s violence prevention plan. With the full set of violence prevention investments—including long-term investments like education—the administration is committing $233 million to help make our communities safer and reduce violence. Some of these investments include:
- Proven violence prevention — An additional $1.38 million over five years to provide stipends to participants in the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) strategy, which a recent evaluation by a University of Pennsylvania researcher found effective in reducing group-member involved shootings.
- Investigations and evidence — $14.7 million over five years towards the Philadelphia Police Department’s Office of Forensic Science, to support evidence processing and investigations. These investments will complement $50 million in funding for a new state-of-the-art forensic lab and help the Department further improve its homicide clearance rate, which increased from 42 percent in 2021 to 47 percent in 2022.
- Strategic deployment and staffing — $9.2 million over five years to support Operation Pinpoint, which deploys additional police resources to the places where violent crimes occur the most. The Police Department conducted a significant redeployment of officers at the end of 2022. The proposed budget also includes $1 million over five years to support recruitment and help the department hire a diverse pool of qualified candidates.
- Criminal justice partners — $25 million over five years in the District Attorney’s Office to sustain their critical work on investigations and prosecutions. The Five Year Plan also commits $25 million to the Defender Association of Philadelphia to provide quality legal services and support for vulnerable Philadelphians in the criminal justice system.
The FY24 budget and FY24-28 Five Year Plan reflect Mayor Kenney’s commitment to ensuring quality of life and well-being in every neighborhood. Key investments range from parks and libraries to housing and environmental justice.
- Revitalizing neighborhood assets — The FY24 budget commits $47.5 million of combined new borrowing and operational support for Rebuild, Mayor Kenney’s historic investment in transforming neighborhood parks, libraries, and playgrounds. These investments will help the program reach our stated goal of ensuring that at least 80 percent of Philadelphia’s low-income families live near a recently renovated park or playground.
- Access to recreation — The City will continue the planned investments that will make it possible for all City recreation centers to offer weekend hours, and invest $1.7 million in the PPR inclusion plan which ensures that facilities are more accessible and welcoming to all residents.
- Free Library of Philadelphia — The proposed budget will invest an additional $51.3 million over five years to stabilize and expand service levels to reach six-day service at neighborhood library branches, which provide vital information and programs to all residents.
- Affordable and stable housing — The Five Year Plan will invest $29 million into eviction prevention, including expanding the Right to Counsel program which guarantees free legal assistance with eviction proceedings for low-income residents in the zip codes most affected by evictions. The City will also dedicate $6.7 million over five years to create 100 new supportive housing units, and $3.16 million in that time to operate the City’s first tiny house community. These new investments join the planned $400 million planned under the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative.
- Street sweeping and cleaning — The FY24 budget includes funds for 75 miles of street paving and further expansion of street sweeping. The street sweeping program will expand to six new neighborhoods for a total of 20. The Streets Department will also get $1.8 million in FY24 to stand up a fourth crew to respond to illegal dumping.
- Addressing the overdose crisis and neighborhood challenges — In FY24 the Opioid Response Unit and supporting departments will continue a multi-department effort to address the overdose crisis and support residents in the hardest-hit areas. The City will use funding from the national opioid settlements to fund community-driven planning and solutions, expand outreach and engagement to promote harm reduction, and reduce barriers to treatment through mobile support.
- Mitigating environmental hazards — In FY24 the City will continue to advance policies and programs to mitigate environmental hazards, especially in communities of color that have disproportionately borne the costs of environmental harms. Over five years the City will provide $1 million to support the Environmental Justice Advisory Commission’s work and provide direct funding to communities working to address environmental injustice. The City will also commit $20 million towards the plan for FDR Park, which is the first park plan in Philadelphia to factor in anticipated effects of climate change such as flooding.
Inclusive growth and opportunity:
Mayor Kenney is more optimistic than ever about Philadelphia’s growth and the opportunities this growth will unlock for our residents and future generations. The city’s poverty rate is at a 15-year low, and our municipal bond rating is the highest it has been in 40 years. To cushion the City and residents against broader economic instability and promote equitable growth, the Mayor’s FY24 budget makes commitments that will offer relief to low-income households, support businesses and workers, and strengthen the City’s financial position.
- Zero-fare transit programs — Making transit systems better, faster, and more affordable is crucial for sustainable, inclusive growth and equity in cities. Over the next two years, Philadelphia will commit $80 million to pilot two SEPTA fare programs promoting ridership. A new zero-fare program will serve at least 25,000 Philadelphia residents near or below the poverty level, allowing them to take trips anywhere on the SEPTA system. Working with our labor partners, the City will also join other large employers in the region participating in the SEPTA Key Advantage Program, and offer free transit to all City employees.
- Reducing wage and business taxes — The FY24 budget will include reductions to the Wage and Business Taxes, which are already at the lowest rates in decades.
- Expanding opportunities — To further support businesses and boost employment opportunities, the City will continue its support for the Quality Jobs incentive program, which will provide grants to businesses that create new, quality jobs accessible to all Philadelphians. The proposed budget includes $1 million to partner with the civic and private sectors to build on ongoing efforts to grow wealth in Black and brown communities through diverse business opportunities from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. And to remove barriers to employment and opportunity, the City will also establish a $5 million fund to clear criminal justice-related debts.
In preparation for this year’s budget proposal, the City initiated a comprehensive, inclusive public engagement process regarding City spending, holding over 30 focus groups with residents, business owners, non-profits, arts and culture organizations, and frontline City employees.
“The FY24 budget and five year plan create a foundation for ongoing fiscal stability,” said Budget Director Marisa Waxman. “It enables critical community investments without adding to the tax burden of residents and businesses, and builds up reserves to ensure we can weather the next economic disruption.”
The proposed FY24 operating budget assumes $5.99 billion in revenues, and $6.10 billion in expenses, leaving a $524 million projected fund balance.
Expenses factor in anticipated costs of inflation facing departments, and funding agreed-on increases for City workers. Revenues will include $4.2 billion in local tax collections for FY24, and factors in Wage and BIRT rate cuts over the plan as well as no revaluations in FY24 from the Office of Property Assessment.
The City’s ability to meet its fund balance goal of six-to-eight percent, while maintaining and expanding services without tax increases, is largely attributable to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) relief from the federal government. Maintaining an adequate fund balance in FY24 and FY25 will be essential to avoid a fiscal cliff once the ARP funds are drawn down by the December 2024 deadline.
The Mayor’s Budget Address, Operating and Capital Budgets, and Proposed FY24-28 Five Year Plan are available online, in several languages.
A version of this press release is also available online in Spanish.