Philly has a poverty problem:
Right now, 26% of Philadelphians live in poverty, making us the poorest big city in the US. This is a real problem, one that needs real solutions. And I have those solutions. There are a variety of things that we can do to address poverty in the city of Philadelphia; dethroning our city’s reign as the largest poorest city in the nation.
The best pathway out of poverty is a well-paying job. The issue of poverty is virtually eliminated through job creation. I advocate for an increase in the minimum wage. All Philadelphians should be able to work jobs that pay a living wage. I support Mayor Kenny’s proposal that raises the wage for City of Philadelphia workers and contractors. However, it’s time we as a city took things a step further to implement Governor Wolf’s minimum wage increase plan for ALL Philadelphians, not just some.
Getting a good job also requires proper education. Our city needs to support programs that directly teaches technology and trades in our schools; enabling our children to be eligible for apprenticeships and trade required jobs in our various Philadelphia unions.
Our city of Philadelphia needs to also stake a vested interest in small businesses, especially minority and women-owned establishments. To do this, we should expand upon the “Jump Start Philly” legislation by increasing the taxable net income exempted up to $150,000, in addition to supporting small business with obtaining the capital needed by offering low-interest loans to eligible small business owners.
Another way to created additional jobs here in Philadelphia is rebuilding our infrastructure. I would look to acquire funding from the State and Federal government to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure. We could also work with the local trade union apprenticeship programs to assist with the renovations of abandoned/ dilapidated houses and public schools. The city should look to continue the support of organizations like the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation that provides repairs and home modifications to low-to-moderate income homeowners.
I also have intentions to introduce legislation that would remove barriers to employment, housing, education, and public assistance for individuals re-entering society. Criminal records should not cosign an individual to a life of poverty. There is nothing inevitable about poverty. We need to build the political will to enact the policies that will increase economic security, expand opportunities, and grow the middle class.
These are real solutions for the very real problem our city faces. A stronger Philadelphia for all Philadelphians requires economic equity and empowerment for all of us. That is what I am working towards, a Philadelphia where poverty is a thing of the past, and this is how I plan to get us there.