MAY 15, 2023

Delving into the forthcoming local ballot measures of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, set for May 2023, we come across four significant proposals. These highlight the need for a comprehensive review and discerning understanding of their potential implications on the city's socio-economic and political landscape.

The first of these proposals, known as Question 1 or the Division of Workforce Solutions Amendment, introduces a critical shift in the city's labor policy paradigm. In an age where concepts like basic income programs or job guarantee schemes are increasingly entering mainstream policy discussions, this measure anchors its philosophy on the premise of full employment with a living wage. The measure resonates with the belief that work, which ensures a decent standard of living, should be a prerequisite and continuous feature throughout the period of an employee's retraining program.

The new Division of Workforce Solutions, which would be established under this proposal, aims to bridge a significant gap in the city's labor market. In contrast to the current Office of Business Development and Workforce Solutions, which primarily focuses on businesses and hiring organizations, the proposed Division of Workforce Solutions places an emphasis on the workers themselves. The Division's mandate would be to guide and support individuals, helping them navigate from their current situation to the positions and roles that employers in the city are seeking to fill, or towards entrepreneurship.

Next on the docket is Question 2, the Budget Stabilization Reserve Amendment. This measure is reminiscent of the old saying, "build a roof while the sun shines," but in a fiscal sense. The aim is to incrementally expand the city's "rainy day fund" by allocating a greater portion of the annual revenue during years of financial prosperity. If the city's income increases in a given year, the amendment stipulates a corresponding increase in the funds set aside for the Budget Stabilization Reserve (BSR) for that fiscal year.

Moving on to Question 3, the Employees of the Citizens Police Oversight Commission Exempt from Civil Service Amendment, this proposal offers a potential solution to enhance the effectiveness of the Commission. By removing the restrictions of civil service hiring requirements, the city could broaden its hiring horizon, bringing in citizens with unique professional experiences or invaluable life wisdom that could enrich the Commission's oversight capabilities. This measure goes beyond simply inviting these individuals to testify. Instead, it offers them a seat at the table, a role in decision-making processes, enabling them to contribute their perspectives directly within the Commission.

Lastly, Question 4, the Office of the Chief Public Safety Director Amendment, invites voters to ponder a crucial question concerning the city's law enforcement framework. How could the Chief Public Safety Director, under the newly proposed amendment, work collaboratively with the Oversight Commission to reduce incidents of excessive or deadly force? Simultaneously, how could they ensure the mitigation of violent crime within the city?

These four measures, set to appear on Philadelphia's May 2023 local ballot, each carry profound implications for the city's future. They call for thoughtful consideration from voters, as they collectively represent an opportunity to redefine the city's approach to workforce solutions, fiscal stability, police oversight, and public safety.


  •  In addition to the May 16, 2023 Democratic Primary for Mayor, there are ballot measures to vote on in Philadelphia as well.

  •  In terms of safety, the city wants to create a new director job, and make it easier to join the police oversight board.

  • In terms of money, the city wants to create a job training division, and increase the emergency fund.

  • VOTE!