Philadelphia City Council committee votes to cut wage tax for lowest income workers

Pat Loeb
November 16, 2019 - 4:00 am
Philadelphia City Hall.

Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Lower taxes could be on the way for some Philadelphians. A City Council committee this past week approved a bill that would return a large chunk of the wage tax to people living below the poverty level. The committee passed the bill over objections from the Kenney administration.

Finance Director Rob Dubow testified that the administration supported the mission of the bill — to fight poverty — but objected to some of its details. 

"We're concerned that the inclusion of commuters diverts funds that could be used to aid Philadelphians and allocates finite city resources to provide tax relief," he said as an example of the city's objections. 

Committee members did not share his concern and passed the bill unanimously. 

Related: With revenue up, City Council committee approves new spending on dozens of programs

It would increase existing tax relief for low-income workers by half a percent to 2.36 percent. That's the entire city share. It wouldn't touch the school district share. 

Dubow estimated it will cost $25 million. 

Sponsor Allan Domb said that was a small price to help 60,000 households put food on the table.

"We shouldn't be filling the city coffers on the back of people earning poverty wages. Of the top 50 cities, we tax lower-income and people in poverty the highest. It's just not right," he said.

The bill now goes to the full Council.