Philly Green Party

Archive for April, 2015

Green Party says, “Fund schools without property tax increase”04.25.15

http://www.gp.org/newsroom/press-releases/details/4/799

The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP, www.gpop.org) objects to Mayor Michael Nutter’s budget for Fiscal 2016 because it heaps the cost of school services upon poor and working people. Meeting on April 22 at Cavanaugh’s Restaurant in University City, Green Party members rejected Nutter’s proposed tax increases and urged Philadelphia’s City Council to tax the wealthy to pay for the public education of future citizens.

In his budget address on March 5, Nutter requested that City Council provide $103 million more for public education. Green Party members agree with this request. Chris Robinson, a member of the GPOP City Committee from Germantown (Ward 59), said, “For too long, our city and state leaders have starved public education. Mayor Nutter should have made this request six years ago. The Green Party has highlighted this problem for many years, and we will continue to argue for a larger investment in public education.”

While visiting Kensington Health Sciences Academy on April 9, Nutter added some additional criteria for funding an increase in public school investment. He said, “Let’s cut the phoniness. Let’s be serious about educating kids.” The press reported that Nutter then asked for “concrete, achievable, and annually-recurring plans” to come up with the cash.

Nutter would like to pay for this investment with another increase in property tax, which is not supported by the Green Party. The Green Party City Committee decided in 2012 that the best way to pay for quality public education was to get the money from giant businesses and mega nonprofits.

The Green Party has long opposed the take-backs forced on school employees by a School Reform Commission appointed by failed-Governor Tom Corbett. The Green Party has also opposed tax increases on poor and working people, like the cigarette tax passed by City Council in 2014.

Since 2012, the Green Party has urged City Council and the Mayor to fund an increased investment in public education using methods which are concrete, achievable and annually recurring. Any of the following three methods, which will tax the wealthy, will meet the criteria of both Mayor Nutter and Green Party members:

CUT THE FREE PASS. City Council should reduce the current 10-year property-tax free pass to just five years. The current free pass benefits the new, the few, and the well-to-do, while making long-time residents and businesses pay more.

GOOD NEIGHBOR PAYMENTS. Right now, the mega nonprofits (think, Hahnemann University Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania, and others) pay no taxes on their profitable property. Since these nonprofits use city services (think, police and fire), Mayor Nutter now has a duty to issue an executive order on such payments, which was requested of him by Council on March 26.

USE AND OCCUPANCY (U&O) REFORM. Philadelphia’s 2013 AVI reform of real estate taxes shifted $200 million dollars away from businesses and onto homeowners. Instead of another property tax increase like the one requested by Nutter, City Council should raise the U&O tax rate on big businesses to restore fairness to the property-tax code. This change should exempt small businesses.

These three funding methods would allow poor and working citizens to see a better education for their children, while having that investment paid for by giant businesses and mega nonprofits that require a better-educated supply of labor and customers.

Hillary Kane, treasurer of GPOP from Cedar Park (Ward 46), said, “Education of all children should be one of our main responsibilities.” Kane, who is also a delegate to the Green Party National Committee, points to the Green Party Platform, which says, “We must stop disinvestment in education and instead put it at the top of our social and economic agenda. Effective schools have sufficient resources. Too many of our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and starved of key materials.”

The Green Party has also published a proposal for Philadelphia’s public schools, which describes the structural changes needed to improve public education. This document can be found by visiting http://www.gpop.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012GPOPNewsletterSchools.pdf.

The Green Party is an independent political party founded on the four pillars of social justice, nonviolence, grassroots democracy, and ecological wisdom. For more information about the Green Party of Philadelphia, please telephone 215-243-7103 or email gpop@gpop.org.
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Posted in Education, Local and Regional News, News, Press Releaseswith Comments Off

Minutes, GPOP General Membership Meeting, March 25, 201504.02.15

Wednesday, March 25, held at Liberty Choice Market in Kensington, Philadelphia.

Meeting called to order at 7:15 pm by facilitator Julian Robinson.
City Committee Members present: Glenn Davis, Eric Hamell, Chris Robinson, Julian Robinson and Galen Tyler.
City Committee Members absent: Hillary Kane (excused).
Others present: Zoe Buckwalter, Kristin Combs, Chuck Cannon, Alex Gillett, Richard Kane, David Lamando, Andrew Mattei, and Ernest Schulte.
Chris offered to take minutes in the absence of a GPOP Recording Secretary. Chris sent Draft Minutes to those present on March 30 and received one correction from Kristin Combs. The final minutes were posted on April 2, 2015.

During April, Hillary Kane has volunteered to take minutes.

Coming events
March 28, Rally Against the Drone War Command Center in Horsham,
April 4, MLK Dare March,
April 8, GPOP City Committee Meeting, 7:00 pm, Cavanaugh’s Restaurant,
April 19, GPOP Finance Committee Meeting, 3:00 pm, at Hillary Kane’s house,
April 22, GPOP General Membership Meeting, 7:00 pm, at Northern Liberties Neighbor Association,
June 25 – 28, U.S. Social Forum.

Introduction of those Present
Amendments to Proposed Agenda

Report from GPOP Chair Glenn Davis
Glenn spent the last five days leading the Voters March across Philadelphia. 28 people participated in the March. There was coverage in the Westside Weekly Newspaper, www.westsidepa.com.
Galen thought this march was valuable in contacting neighbors and valuable for the students who participated.

Report on GPPA Delegates Meeting on 3/21
Chris gave an overview of the meeting. A new GPPA Steering Committee was elected by the delegates. Two GPOP members will hold office during 2015. Hillary was re-elected as GPPA Secretary, and Vivek Ananthan was elected GPPA Member at Large. The GPPA Delegates voted to donate $100.00 to each of GPOP’s candidates for election in 2015 (see below).

Election of GPPA Delegates from GPOP
GPOP members elected the following people to be their delegates to GPPA: Kristin Combs, Alex Gillett, Eric Hamell, Hillary Kane, Chris Robinson and Galen Tyler. Richard Kane was elected to be an alternate delegate.

Report on Combs for City Council Member at Large Campaign
Kristin has nomination petitions ready, and her campaign is circulating them. She is still refraining from a media blast, but she is responding to individual media requests.

Report on Davis for City Commissioner Campaign
Democratic candidate for City Commissioner Dennis Less has been thrown off the ballot, and Stephanie Singer’s nomination petitions are under attack. These two candidates had been endorsed by Neighborhood Networks, leaving an opening for liberal Democrats to endorse Glenn Davis.
Alex withdrew his criticism of Glenn’s 2014 campaign for PA State Representative, which he had expressed at the February GPOP General Membership Meeting.

Report by Membership Secretary Eric Hamell
Eric plans to increase GPOP publicity on social media using ideas from “Change of Heart,” a book that explains the value of social media tactics. Eric says that this will be a low-cost way to increase GPOP’s visibility.

GPOP Registration with U.S. Social Forum
Hillary had proposed that GPOP register with the U.S. Social Forum (cost $200). Questions were raised about Hillary’s plan to raise that money. GPOP members agreed to spend $200 for GPOP to register with U.S. Social Forum and asked the GPOP City Committee to devise a plan to raise that amount at the City Committee meeting on April 8.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.
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