April 04, 2007
Bar Association Chancellor Asks Mayoral Candidates to Support Pledge
Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Jane Dalton has asked the candidates for Philadelphia mayor to commit to a set of goals to promote economic growth and to improve the judicial system and the quality of life in Philadelphia.
In a letter sent to each candidate on April 3, Dalton said that Philadelphia lawyers play an essential role in the City's economy. Legal services firms pay more than $1.6 billion in annual salaries and more than $68 million in annual City wage taxes.
"Law firms constitute half of the professional service firms in Philadelphia a growing sector in our economy representing 10 percent of the City's total employment," Dalton said. "Law firms pay about $56 million in business privilege taxes each year which constitutes about 72 percent of the business privilege taxes paid by professional service firms in the City," she added.
Dalton said the larger law firms occupy about 20 percent of the prime office space in Center City, and many more medium-sized and small firms occupy space in other buildings. All of these law firms pay City real estate taxes indirectly through their rent payments. About 45 percent of the lawyers who work in Philadelphia live in Philadelphia where they own or rent homes, buy goods and services, and send their children to school.
"Philadelphia lawyers are deeply concerned about the future of our City's economy, the quality of our judicial system, and the integrity of our local government officials. We and our firms are adversely impacted by the tax burdens on businesses, the increase in violent crime, an impoverished school system, and a growing uneducated workforce," said Dalton.
The full text of the Candidates Pledge to the Philadelphia Bar Association appears below:
CANDIDATE'S PLEDGE TO THE PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
I agree to support the priorities identified by the Philadelphia Bar Association. As Mayor, I commit that I will:
- Implement the recommendations of the Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission, including the gradual elimination of the Business Privilege Tax.
- Support only judicial candidates for election to and retention on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the Municipal Court who are recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Associations Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention.
- Construct a new, "state of the art," courthouse for the Family Division of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, which will house the Domestic Relations Branch and the Juvenile Branch in a single, Center City location.
- Increase local funding and find other sources for funding of the School District of Philadelphia, including preschool and adult education programs. n Support legislation amending the City Charter to create a permanent Police Advisory Commission.
To see the full text of the letter, click here.