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Philadelphia Research and Policy Initiative

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Fiscal Health and Tax Policies

Philadelphia’s fiscal health and tax policy affect the city’s ability to deliver critical municipal services while also retaining and attracting residents and businesses.

Pew’s work on these issues includes research on Philadelphia’s property tax collections, the state of the city’s underfunded pension system, Philadelphia’s record on preparing for revenue volatility, and whether tax incentives are producing the intended results. 

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Article

The Pandemic's Impact on Municipal Budgets in Philadelphia

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Article

A year after major cities across the country went into pandemic-related lockdowns, their governments continue to struggle with budget challenges caused by the decrease in economic activity.

Issue Brief

A Stress Test of Philadelphia’s Retirement System

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Issue Brief

The Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a stress test analysis of Philadelphia’s city retirement plan in late 2018 to help policymakers evaluate how the plan would weather various economic conditions, given recent reforms.

Report

The Cost of Local Government in Philadelphia

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Report

Philadelphia is widely seen as having high taxes, which some civic leaders and analysts view as detrimental to the city’s economic prospects. In this report, The Pew Charitable Trusts examines Philadelphia’s tax burden and assesses the spending and other elements that drive it.

Article

Taxes in Philadelphia

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Article

Philadelphia’s tax policies have been an ongoing focus of public debate in the city. Pew’s research on the topic has included examinations of local property tax assessments and collections, the residential tax burden in the city compared with its suburbs, and business tax incentives and exemptions.

OUR WORK

Article

How to Make Tax Incentives More Effective for Cities

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Article

For many years, Philadelphia has awarded businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives to encourage them to create jobs, move into distressed neighborhoods, and otherwise enhance the local economy. But the city never had a formal system for regularly evaluating and adjusting the programs.

Article

Philadelphia’s Road to Pension Recovery

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Article

Philadelphia has taken steps to put its underfunded public employee pension system on what will be a long road to recovery. Will those efforts work, and can the city stick to the plan?