I am quite sure
that Barbara, members of the City
Council, all elected officials, and all
public servants and thousands of our City
employees would agree, public service is
truly a calling, a vocation. Each of us answered that call and steadfastly serve our communities working together to shape the future of our city and the lives of every Philadelphian.
For nearly 15 years, I served as a member of City Council, and for the last six years, I've proudly worked together with all of you as Mayor of this great city.
And so, again, I'd like to thank Council President Clarke and all members of City Council for their partnership and leadership over the last six-plus years. Working together, this City Council and our Administration have achieved a great deal. We're attracting
new business, creating jobs. We're
safer, greener, and growing in population
and our economy.
In just the last two years,
working together, we transformed the
City's skyline with more than seven and a
half billion dollars worth of recently
announced, under construction or completed projects, including Comcast's Innovation and Technology Center, a new $1.2 billion development project that was just announced last month.
Working together, we reformed Philadelphia's inaccurate and unfair property tax system into an accurate, understandable, and fair system that used industry best practices to complete the first citywide property reassessment under the Actual Value Initiative.
Working together, Council President Clarke, Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, and our Administration created a better system for the disposition of vacant land and
properties, making Philadelphia the
largest city in the nation to have a Land
Working together, we rewrote
the City's Zoning Code and created the
City's first comprehensive plan,
Working together, we've lowered wage and business taxes, bringing the resident wage tax rate below 4 percent for the first time since the 1970s, and we will continue to work together to lower the wage and business taxes while providing a range of exemptions and incentives authored by City Council to make Philadelphia a more attractive place for businesses to start, stay here, and grow here.
Working together, we've transformed thousands of acres of long neglected waterfront on the Central Delaware and the Lower Schuylkill with dynamic plans that reclaim former industrial land.
Working together, City Council
President Clark again and the Fairmount
Park Conservancy and our Administration
have agreed to move forward with the sale
of the Love Park garage and construction
of a new JFK Plaza/Love Park, and the
renovation of Dilworth Plaza, the
People's Plaza, will be completed this fall.
Working together, our Administration, with Council's active support, has increased diversity in the City business participation. We have consistently surpassed our goal with regard to the percentage of City contracts going to minority, women, and disabled-owned businesses. In 2013, we reached 28 percent participation, encouraging us to raise our participation target to 30 percent for FY15.
A year before we began our partnership, in 2007, homicides in Philadelphia claimed the lives of 391 citizens. In 2013, we had 247 homicides,
the lowest homicide count since 1967.
It's a decrease of 38 percent since 2007
and 26 percent lower than 2012. Overall,
violent crime is down 15 percent compared
But we all agree, one life lost
or damaged because of violence is one too
many, and that's why we will remain focused on reducing violence among young people through the Youth Violence Reduction Collaborative and the federal Department of Justice's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
And we must maintain our commitment and determination regarding homicides and shootings involving black men and boys through our work around Black Male Engagement, the Mayor's Commission on African American Males, and the national organization called Cities United, which was recently recognized by President Barack Obama during the launch of his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative just last week.
In 2013, for the second year in
a row, civilian fire fatalities were at
an all-time low. Unfortunately, we did
suffer the loss of one of Philadelphia's
finest firefighters, Battalion Chief
Michael Goodwin, last year. We pray for
his family and all the families that have
suffered the loss of loved ones from fire or violence.
In 2007, our high school graduation rate was 53 percent and the number of Philadelphians with a four-year college degree was 18 percent. In 2008, we all committed ourselves to turning the tide on poor educational outcomes, and today our high school graduation rate is 64 percent, an improvement of 11 percentage points. And our college degree attainment rate is nearly 25 percent. Progress? Yes, but we know that we have much more to do.
And our population has grown every year since 2007, as affirmed by the 2010 Census, and we'll show growth again
in 2013 for the seventh straight year in
a row. Attracting a diverse group of new
residents, empty-nesters, immigrants, and
Millennials. In fact, no major city in
America has experienced a larger
percentage growth in population of young
people than Philadelphia.
I also want to point out that our strong fiscal management, our careful financial stewardship, our ability to work together and make tough budget decisions is the reason that Standard and Poor's gave Philadelphia the highest rating ever in our history with an "A+" municipal credit rating. And for the first time since the '70s, all three major rating agencies have Philadelphia in the "A" category.
That's just a small portion of what our Administration and City Council have achieved working together. And I know that we'll add more to those accomplishments through our continued partnership.
Today, my proposed FY15 budget
builds on our collective track record of
fiscal responsibility and strategic
investment. It includes investments that
support our City of Philadelphia as we
continue on a path to prosperity. It
makes targeted investments for our
children and our adult citizens, in our neighborhoods and in public safety. This budget continues the incremental wage tax reductions that we restarted last year to bolster economic growth.
This budget proposes no tax increases for the City's General Fund. Let me repeat that. There are no tax increases for the General Fund of our City budget proposed today.