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. 

Issue Brief

How Philadelphia’s Expenditures Have Increased in Recent Years

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Issue Brief

For the 10 years ending in 2018, the Philadelphia city government’s spending growth was slightly below the median of the nation’s 30 largest cities. Over the past few years, however, the city’s general fund expenditures have grown at a greater rate than in previous years, due largely to a shift in the mayoral administration’s priorities (endorsed by City Council) and higher revenue generated by an expanding local economy.

Philadelphia
Philadelphia
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.

Philadelphia
Philadelphia
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

Philadelphia
Philadelphia
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?