Broke in Philly

What tax question should we ask mayor and Council candidates?

Soda tax, wage tax, property taxes — tell us which should go on the official Broke in Philly survey.

Proponents of the soda tax shut down Harrisburg-led hearing in City Hall.

Proponents of the soda tax shut down Harrisburg-led hearing in City Hall.

Mark Dent / Billy Penn

Billy Penn is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at or follow at @BrokeInPhilly.

Taxes are even more inescapable in Philadelphia than most places. The city regularly makes top 10 lists as one of the highest-taxed municipalities in the nation.

That sounds overwhelmingly negative, but most of the programs run by local government depend on those levies for funding, from schools to parks to housing to safety. So eliminating taxes wholesale isn’t necessarily good policy.

What is good tax policy for Philly residents and businesses? Good question — and one we’d like to pose to candidates in the upcoming May primary.

Along with other newsrooms in the Broke in Philly collaborative, we’re preparing a survey for the mayoral contenders and the dozens of candidates for City Council. Last month we asked readers to submit potential queries, and we got more than 100 responses. Now we’re trying to streamline the list.

The grand majority of questions submitted fall into the categories Jobs, Taxes, Housing and Education. We want to know which tax question you most want to see answered.

Property assessments in Philly vary great

Property assessments in Philly vary greatly, even within the same block

Aaron Kreider / via reddit

Do you want to put candidates on the spot with regard to property taxes and the topic of inaccurate assessments? Find out what they’d do about the wage tax, which many call unfriendly to business but accounts for a huge chunk of Philly’s budget? Learn more about their plans to address tax bracket disparity? Hear their sentiments on the soda tax?

We’ll add the winning query to our Broke in Philly survey — the results of which will be published for all to see.

Place your vote below.

Want some more? Explore other Broke in Philly stories.

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Taxes, Politics