Philadelphia Forward is a non-partisan, non-profit citizens’ organization educating the region about how Philadelphia raises and spends public money. We advocate government efficiency and fair, simple and competitive taxation so Philadelphia can become a world-class city for neighbors to build strong communities and businesses to create jobs.Philadelphia Forward informs the public about city tax and budget issues; proposes and promotes policies to sustain and grow the city’s economy and population; and advocates reforms necessary to bring about such changes. We believe that by taxing and spending wisely, Philadelphia can become an attractive place to live and do business. We collaborate with citizens and the business community to ensure that Philadelphia becomes a world-class city that works — and grows.
Philadelphia Forward was originally established in 2004 as a project of the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. Its original mission was to build awareness of issues relating to taxation in Philadelphia. The organization’s first efforts were geared toward educating the citizenry about the Philadelphia Tax Reform Commission’s recommendations. Since then, Philadelphia Forward has broadened its mission to embrace issues of ethics, governmental integrity, and budgeting, in order to raise the level of public debate surrounding the way we set our public priorities.
Philadelphia Forward now keeps citizens informed and engaged around the real business and residential impacts of decisions about how the city raises and spends public money. Similarly, Philadelphia Forward promotes the fair administration of law and government operations.
The hallmark of Philadelphia Forward’s efforts is a focus on direct communication with Philadelphians combined with engagement mechanisms that involve citizens in crucial issues of the day. Philadelphia Forward pursues its mission with a variety of programs that provide information to citizens across Philadelphia. Philadelphia Forward hosts programs, forums, and conferences; meets with civic organizations; maintains a website; and regularly emails Philadelphians to bring Philadelphians together to focus on policy issues.
Moving ahead, Philadelphia Forward will continue to promote debate about ways to make Philadelphia’s tax structure more fair and less burdensome for firms and families. Philadelphia Forward will pursue legal action where necessary to ensure the fair administration of tax law and will ensure that Philadelphians understand the implications of tax-reform and tax-policy proposals. Similarly, we will work to create new informational tools to expand understanding about the city budget and promote budgetary transparency so citizens can have an honest debate about budgetary priorities and the results that public spending creates. We will produce regular BUDGETWATCH opinions for publication on the Philadelphia Forward website and in a citywide newspaper. We will use our BUDGETWATCH content to help citizens understand budgetary tradeoffs and how city spending is connected to results so the public can engage in discussions about the city’s budget priorities and recognize the implications of proposed spending and taxation options. We will also facilitate the publication of a weekly column in a citywide newspaper offering opinions from members of our “Reformers Roundtable” to ensure that issues of the day are seen through a lens that considers how current events affect the city, residents, and employers. Philadelphia Forward may engage in limited lobbying for the enactment of legislation supportive of Philadelphia Forward’s goals of fairness, equity, and governmental ethics.
Philadelphia Forward operates under the fiscal management of the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, an organization dedicated to bringing together business and community leaders to solve urban problems.