Despite the bill receiving a near unanimous vote in favor by Philadelphia City Council Members and becoming law, the Philadelphia Public Financing Authority has been scuttled by the city’s outgoing mayor. Mayor Jim Kenney sent a letter to the Council June 22 declaring he would neither fund the initiative, nor seat board members. The letter states that in the event City Council steps in to provide funding through the City budget or a transfer ordinance this fall, the Mayor would prevent it from operating by refusing to appoint the Authority’s board.
Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition members spoke out in an open letter to the Mayor and a press release. Stan Shapiro, co-founder of Philly Neighborhood Networks and Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition member said:
“Today we learned that the Mayor has decided to ignore the legally binding ordinance that calls for him to appoint the Authority’s board. That ordinance was passed by a margin of 15-1 in City Council, and the Mayor – who could have vetoed it but declined – has simply chosen to pretend it doesn’t exist. This is outrageous as a matter of law, but even worse, as a matter of policy. When the PPFA spins off a Philadelphia Public Bank, as the Mayor knows is intended, it could help revitalize communities that have been the victims of racist banking policies for generations. But the Mayor is standing in the way.”
The open letter states:
“The bill establishing the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority was drafted in close consultation over a six month period with the City’s Law Department as well as the prestigious banking law firm of Holland and Knight and members of the City’s Treasurer’s office. Through the Law Department, the Administration inserted a provision that required the board to ultimately be appointed by the Mayor, and you are now using that provision to sabotage the entire project. …
“We call upon you to reverse your undemocratic decision, and to move forward with all measures needed to establish the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority as required by the law.”
Photo by ByteForByte.