Like cities everywhere, Philadelphia is struggling to cope with the effects of global economic downturn. During this period we urge you to take a balanced approach to closing the city’s $120 million budget gap and securing its future. Since the recession began in 2008 the city has undergone three rounds of budget cuts that eliminated 1,250 city positions, shuttered prevention programs, cut library hours and services, closed pools, delayed necessary repairs to recreation centers, police stations, streets and other infrastructure. We simply cannot cut our way out of this crisis. While we agree with recent efforts to eliminate inefficient agencies, we urge you to balance recent cuts with increased revenue from individuals and businesses that can most afford to pay. Property tax increases that protect low-income homeowners, fees from large non-profits that don’t pay taxes and the end of real estate tax abatements should all be considered. So should taxes with public health benefits including those on sugary drinks and tobacco. By taking a commonsense approach that balances recent service cuts with revenue increases we can ensure the future of our city. Sometimes the toughest choices to make are the best ones for our city and all of its residents.