Philadelphia’s City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to reduce police funding by $14 million and re-investing in the arts, anti-poverty and affordable housing.
The proposed budget comes amid worldwide protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd. It is also a reversal of Mayor Jim Kenney’s original plan to increase police funding by $19 million. The Mayor then receded the request after receiving a letter from 17 city council members objecting to the funding increase.
The budget cut will reduce hundreds of city service jobs, which Mayor Kenney has expressed disappointment over, but says overall that the protection of “our most vulnerable residents” is a priority.
The official proposal will be read at the city council meeting Thursday, June 25. It will include:
- Implicit bias training for police
- Engage mental health professionals for police-assisted diversion
- Create a Deputy Inspector General for police-related investigations
- Fund a Police Oversight Commission
New Normal Budget Act
- $20 million for the Housing Trust Fund, which funds quality, affordable housing
- $1.35 million for the Cultural Fund and African-American Museum, after previously being de-funded due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- $825,000 for Re-Entry Services