ISSUE | TAXES
State funds also needed for Phila. pre-K
While the passage of the soda tax is good news for Philadelphia's pre-K children, Mayor Kenney's plan to serve 10,000 children counts on additional funding from the state.
I recently met with state legislators as part of the Pre-K for PA campaign, which is recommending $90 million in additional pre-K funding in the 2016-17 state budget. State Reps. Dwight Evans and Joanna McClinton reiterated their commitment to pre-K.
I hope the two Philadelphia Democrats will encourage their colleagues to make pre-K a priority. Thousands of Philadelphia children are counting on them.
Adrienne Briggs, Lil' Bits Family Child Care Home, Philadelphia
Abatement attracts, keeps city residents
A letter criticized Philadelphia's 10-year real estate tax abatement for destroying "historic and vintage buildings" and being "a subsidy for the well-to-do" (Wednesday). The abatement means decreased, not eliminated, real estate taxes.
I live in the Arbours at Eagle Pointe, a 55-and-older community built on the grounds of the former Byberry hospital. While Byberry was "historic and vintage," it was dangerous and an eyesore that has been replaced by a lovely community of middle-class citizens, many of whom are living on pensions and Social Security. Many of the residents have moved back into the city because of the abatement, and many of us have stayed because of it.
There are more than 250 households here, with building continuing. All these people are patronizing Philadelphia businesses and paying other taxes to the city - increasing, not decreasing, revenue. In addition, we all just received a reassessment that quadrupled the real estate taxes we have been paying.
The city population has increased over the past 10 years. Could the tax abatement be a factor?
Romona Flitter, Philadelphia
Christie's plan offers middle-class relief
Gov. Christie's decision to redistribute and equalize school funding is courageous, legitimate, and wise ("Christie: Equal school funds for all," Wednesday). The urban school districts have been receiving multiples of other school systems' funding throughout the state and have failed to achieve their primary objective - to engage, motivate, and educate.
Christie's plan would place the onus on the urban school districts to justify the educational decisions that have contributed to a steady decline. It would provide financial relief to middle-class homeowners who are strapped by the state's high real estate taxes. More people will be able to buy a home and build financial equity.
Stew Bolno, Philadelphia