Philly's week in politics
It’s been a rather busy week for Philadelphia City Council.
On Wednesday, Councilwoman Helen Gym held a hearing on the 1996 immigration laws, which negatively affected immigrants who were incarcerated. The hearing led to tearful testimonies given by Philadelphia’s immigration community.
The sugary beverage tax was voted on yesterday and will be signed into law this coming Monday and Councilwoman Cherelle Parker recently announced that she will introduce a resolution that would call for the creation of a task force to address retirement security for private sector workers in Philadelphia.
“People are starting to wake up and realize that we have a real retirement crisis on our hands, which is impacting the country as a whole and Philadelphia in particular,” Parker said in a statement. “While we would love for federal officials to craft a solution, it’s clear that big cities like New York and Philadelphia must take action now.”
West Philadelphia resident Phyllis Ridenhour, 66, testified that she saved $35,000 in a 401(k), but after she was forced to retire, she had to withdraw the money for critical home repairs and to pay for her son’s medical bills. She now receives $1,054 per month from Social Security and works a part-time job at minimum wage through a program for seniors.
“After making my mortgage payment, I have a very difficult time affording my utility bills. My gas was cut off last November, and I had to use an electric space heater,” Ridenhour said. “I’ve applied for all of the programs that I [thought I] qualify for, but unfortunately I don’t qualify for many of them because I’m told that I have too much income."
On the heels of the historic “soda tax” announcement, City Council members Gym, Henon, Quiñones Sánchez, Johnson and Jones released a resolution condemning the “racist, sexist, xenophobic, and anti-American values that have been espoused by Donald Trump.”