I am extremely sensitive to homeowners' concerns about rising property taxes, particularly for those who are "house rich" but "income poor."

Having spent the bulk of my 27 years of public service turning around West Oak Lane, I have first-hand experience in dealing with the balancing act between improving neighborhoods and ensuring that existing residents are not forced out of their homes. We were successful in turning Northwest Philadelphia from a distressed and blighted area into a model for neighborhood renewal and economic revival. Today we have high-quality educational choices for our families, more economic growth that is providing good jobs for our workforce, and reduced levels of violence.

I have the experience, determination and skills necessary to apply this model to other areas of the city, and I understand how to achieve these things while still protecting the rights of homeowners not to be taxed out of their homes.

The first and most obvious step for Philadelphia government is actually to listen to Philadelphians and respond to their concerns. In the face of great fear and anxiety last year over full-value reassessment, my colleagues and I hosted several public hearings on property taxes throughout Philadelphia. We heard residents talk about how their dreams of continued home ownership and financial security were threatened by skyrocketing property taxes. We also heard frustration over the appearance of inequity in property taxes, about a lack of city services commensurate with what homeowners were paying, and a general feeling that government in Philadelphia was unresponsive to their needs.

We acted on these concerns and introduced a series of bills that will provide protection for homeowners in Philadelphia from exorbitant increases in their property taxes. As mayor, I will continue to work with City Council and the legislature in Harrisburg to ensure that we have the tools necessary to offer Philadelphians security and protection from skyrocketing property taxes.