Philly councilman rolls out plan to give city’s poorest residents a break on wage tax

By John N. Mitchell

PHILADELPHIA — City Councilman Allan Domb has introduced legislation that he says would allow about 60,000 city households living in poverty to be reimbursed annually equal to the amount that they pay in wage tax.

Under Domb’s proposal, the current reimbursement amount of half a percent would be increased starting next year to 2.36 percent, which is the city’s portion of the wage tax rate. This would allow a family of four earning an income of $34,250 to receive about $810 annually.

The range of the reimbursement would vary ranging on family size. For a married couple filing jointly and making $15,250 annually the reimbursement amount would be $360. For a married couple with six dependents, making just over $72,000, the reimbursement amount would be $1,706.

“We want to provide struggling families with an amount of relief in order to help with their financial needs,” Domb said in a statement. “The proposed rate increase would quadruple the current refund amount. Any little bit helps, and we have the authority in city council to provide the maximum refund possible.”

Mayor Jim Kenney’s office has not reviewed Domb’s proposal but indicated that it would be open to discussions around the legislation.

“We have not reviewed the proposal, but we look forward to discussions with the Councilman and his colleagues about it,” a representative in the mayor’s office wrote in a statement. We are always happy to discuss ideas that can improve the lives of Philadelphians. The Kenney Administration understands that a living wage is a direct way to increase income and reduce poverty and that the City must model the change it wants to see from employers.”

According to Domb’s office, the legislation has the support of Councilmembers Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Jannie Blackwell.

“I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation and help our city gain significant traction to moving families out of poverty,” Domb said.

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