Road to a Green New Deal - Issue 23
Bernstein Torres
April 6, 2022
Illustration by Annie Wolfond

Passing the Philly Wealth Tax 

On March 29th, Philadelphia Councilmember Kendra Brooks, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Tax the Rich PHL campaign, and many other organizations launched the Philly Wealth Tax reinstatement campaign. The Philly Wealth Tax would be imposed on billion-dollar corporations and billionaires in the city “to win the Philadelphia we deserve, paid for by those who have dodged paying what they owe.”' It would tax direct holdings in stocks and bonds at a rate of 0.4%, or $4 of every $1,000 of assets, excluding any retirement accounts. This tax, previously known as the Personal Property Tax, was in effect for many years in Philadelphia and other Pennsylvanian cities before being repealed in 1997. Councilmember Kendra Brooks sees this as an opportune moment to reinstate the tax as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the racial wealth gap. Billionaires as a group, have increased their wealth by almost 60% over the course of the pandemic. 

As event speaker Jamie Gauthier put it, “It's not charity. It’s what is owed.” This tax would also be part of funding a just recovery for the people of Philadelphia, as outlined in Tax the Rich PHL’s Revenue for a Just Recovery Plan. Given the tripling of stock market values in the last twenty years, this tax would allow for over $200 million a year in funding aimed at investing in low-income communities and addressing income inequality. As with most bold initiatives of restorative justice, this bill has been met with opposition and is likely to be opposed by many council members and Mayor Jim Kenney. But many community groups are in favor of this transformative campaign and are intent on seeing it passed. 

Clash Between Public and Congressional Support for GND

A recent poll conducted by Data for Progress found that support for a Green New Deal amongst likely voters ranges between 65 and 69 percent. The poll looked at support for three Green New Deal bills recently introduced to Congress – GND for Cities, GND for Public Schools, and GND for Public Housing – where House and Senate support does not reflect that of the public. This showcases that “Congress is not coming close to representing the climate ambition of the people.” In new polling on a larger group of six core Green New Deal bills, Data for Progress found that “every bill has majority support from every demographic polled other than Republicans.” What will it take for Congress to reflect the people’s vision? 

A Phoenix Rises: A Communal Journey to Climate Resilience

In 2004, a massive warehouse fire broke out in Cincinnati's Lower Price Hill neighborhood, burning barrels filled with extremely hazardous chemicals, such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. This is one of the many environmental disasters the frontline Price Hill community has been burdened with throughout the years. But, with the help of Groundwork Ohio River Valley, the community is beginning to devise Ohio’s first climate-safe neighborhood from the ground up. Their climate resiliency plan calls for increasing tree canopy, establishing green roofs, and building a stormwater retention basin. And through funding from the EPA and the University of Cincinnati, the community will be able to monitor its air quality with the hopes of driving public policy. Price Hill is an example of a community taking local action in response to a legacy of environmental injustice and the existential threat of the climate crisis.   

Short Film | Generation on Fire

This free short film follows a group of Sunrise Movement activists as they travel across the U.S. calling for good jobs and climate action. 

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