Philadelphia City Council preliminary budget approval includes major cuts to police funding

Philadelphia City Council on Thursday gave its preliminary approval of the 2021 budget that slashes police funding by more than $33 million and pours resources into efforts to reduce poverty and back arts and culture programs.

The reduction in police funding comes nearly two weeks after fourteen council members told Mayor Jim Kenney that they would not support a $14 million increase to the police budget. 

The precursory budget approved on Thursday features another $14 million in reductions to the police budget. The reduction in police spending calls for the following reforms inside and outside of the department:

  • Body cameras for police officers 
  • Implicit bias training for police 
  • Engage mental health professionals for police-assisted diversion 
  • Equity Manager for the police force 
  • Transfer funding for crossing guards ($12.3 million) and public safety enforcement officers ($1.9 million) to Managing Director’s Office (MDO) 
  • Create a Deputy Inspector General for police-related investigations 
  • Fund a Police Oversight Commission ($400,000 to MDO) 
  • Additional funding for the Public Defender ($1.2 million)  

RELATED: 14 Philadelphia city council members say no to $14M proposed increase to police budget

As part of the new plan, funding for the Philadelphia Fire Department will hold at the same rate of last year's budget.

Other proposals in the preliminarily agreed budget include the New Normal Budget Act, which will provide $25 million in funding to a multitude of areas ranging from healthcare needs to anti-poverty efforts and affordable housing.

The Non-Resident Wage and Net Profit Tax will slightly increase from 3.5% to 3.8%. This incremental rise will not affect the Resident Wage Tax and projects to generate $17.2 million. 

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby released the following statement in response to the budget:

"Once again, our city leadership has turned its back on the residents and police department of this great city. Cutting 33-million-dollars from the police department is both reckless and irresponsible under the guise of police reform. This spending plan will devastate any efforts by the police department to engage and fund numerous community outreach programs. Our political leadership is tone deaf and blind to the realities of public safety in our city by implementing these drastic budget cuts. We look forward to the day of responsible budgeting and reform that will best serve all the residents of Philadelphia."


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