Over 150 union members, community leaders, and residents gathered in favor of taxing the ultra-rich and investing in working class communities

Philadelphia – Yesterday, outside of City Hall, the Tax the Rich PHL coalition and Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large) hosted a People’s Hearing on the Philly Wealth Tax bill and amplified calls to tax the rich at the federal, state and local levels. The diverse group of speakers highlighted the need for local leaders to reject austerity approaches to City funding and trickle-down economics, which have resulted in unprecedented rates of income inequality and a growing racial wealth gap. Instead, the groups called for taxing the rich and using that funding to make targeted investments in working class communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and faced decades of underfunding, housing discrimination, and gentrification.

Councilmember Kendra Brooks’ bill, which was introduced in April 2022, would levy a 0.4% tax on stocks and bonds, excluding retirement accounts, and raise 70% of its revenue from the top 5% of Philadelphians, by income. The PA Budget and Policy Center estimates that the tax could raise over $200 million a year in annual City revenue, which could then be invested in City services that would support working families in neighborhoods that have faced the most disinvestment, such as recreation centers, libraries, summer camp and after-school programs for young people, job training initiatives, mental health mobile crisis units and more. The People’s Hearing comes after the postponement of a number of City Council hearings, including one scheduled for September 21 on the Wealth Tax, due to recent resignations from City Council.

“Philadelphia already has everything that we need to build the city of our dreams. It’s just a matter of political courage, determination, and investment,” said Councilmember Kendra Brooks. “If we stopped cutting taxes for the ultra-rich, giving handouts to big businesses, and instead invested in the communities that have been pushed aside for years, we could heal generations of disinvestment. In order to alleviate poverty, address gun violence, and build strong neighborhoods we need to stop waiting for wealth to trickle down and start putting people before profit. My constituents deserve a city where everyone pays their fair share and where future generations can live, grow, and thrive.”

Brooks was also joined by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), a co-sponsor of the bill, who reaffirmed her support for the Philly Wealth Tax.

“We need the resources that a wealth tax would generate,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. “We are not asking for charity or a handout. This is what Black and Brown and working class Philadelphians are owed. The reason we are owed that is …….