PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement today following City Council’s final passage of the FY24 budget legislation:
“With this final budget, we will build on our success and strengthen our City’s foundation for its next chapter. I am confident that Philadelphia has a bright future ahead, with a healthy financial outlook, and I am more optimistic than ever about Philadelphia’s growth and the opportunities we can create for our residents and future generations. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues in City Council for their support with a budget that reflects our shared priorities of equity and opportunity for all.
“This year’s budget includes an historic investment – more than $233 million in anti-violence efforts, expanding prevention programs we know to be effective and bolstering our public safety programs such as Operation Pinpoint, Group Violence Intervention, recruitment for the police department and the Youth Leader Program, which will bring conflict resolution training to high school students. Together we will continue to expand ongoing efforts to intervene with individuals at the very highest risk of being involved in gun violence and strengthen coordination to keep these individuals alive.
“We are also proud to include investments that reflect our commitment to equity, opportunity, and well-being for all, like the $62 million over two years to pilot a zero-fare transit program for low-income riders and a five-year-plan to invest $29 million into eviction prevention, including the Right to Counsel program which guarantees free legal assistance with eviction proceedings for low-income residents.
“I am especially proud that this budget reflects record levels of education funding. No investment is more effective than the investments we make in our city’s children. To that end, this year’s budget will create 950 new PHLpreK seats in FY24, bringing the program’s size to 5,250 seats total, and will dedicate $11.7 million to the Catto Scholarship to prepare more Philadelphians for the academic and professional success they dream of.
“The FY24 Budget includes $22 million to maximize the historic opportunity presented by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is already yielding results and bringing transformative opportunities to Philadelphia communities and neighborhoods. Similarly, through Rebuild our new investments will help us reach our goal of 80% of low-income households living within a mile of a recently renovated public space by the end of this calendar year. Another $28 million in the capital budget will improve the quality and longevity of the Parks and Recreation facilities used and cherished by residents of all ages and walks of life.
“This budget reflects our unwavering commitment to addressing the overdose crisis which inflicts grief and trauma on communities across Philadelphia. Thanks to funding from the national opioid settlements, we are investing in community-driven planning and solutions in Kensington and other communities bearing the brunt of this crisis. We are also using the funds to address the overdose crisis with expanded outreach and engagement to Black and brown communities who are seeing an increase in fatal overdoses, and reduced barriers to treatment through mobile supports. Our budget also sustains the Kensington-focused Encampment Resolution Team, which makes daily contact with people experiencing homelessness, offers connections to treatment, housing and services, and responds to neighborhood concerns.
“This budget sustains our commitments to inclusive growth by further lowering Business and Wage Taxes, which are already the lowest they’ve been in decades. I am proud that we have been able to achieve this while also prioritizing the City’s financial health and earning the highest credit ratings in decades.
“We thank all the residents who also participated in this budget cycle at one of our community focus groups as well as all of our City employees who make the vision of our budget a reality through their hard work and dedication.
“Seven years ago, I told City Council that together we could expand quality pre-K, create community schools, invest in our public spaces, and help small businesses. I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made, and I look forward to working with other elected leaders to put to work this budget that reflects our commitments to equity and progress, and also prioritizes sustainability and financial stability so that our city is ready for any challenges and all the opportunities that the future holds.”