Statements issued during Council hearing support legislation to grow good-paying jobs by reducing Philadelphia’s business taxes
PHILADELPHIA – As part of City Council’s Committee of the Whole hearing held today, City Councilmember Allan Domb (At Large) issued the following statement on his proposed legislation to reduce business taxes that would grow good-paying jobs and expand business in Philadelphia:
“We have a unique opportunity right now to take bold actions to help grow our city, create new job opportunities, expand small and medium-sized businesses, invest more in our Black and minority-owned businesses, and make Philadelphia an attractive place to live, work and raise a family.
“We’ve all learned from this pandemic that we can no longer depend on people being here and coming to our city just because of the lifestyle. The reality is we’re competing with towns that exist just across our borders. Our current business tax structure is a major reason why our suburbs are realizing billions of dollars in investments and creating tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs, which could have been in Philadelphia.
“Through our conversations with businesses, the city’s various chambers of commerce, and an analysis on our proposed legislation, we heard that people and businesses want to see more immediate impact on the Wage Taxes and Business Income and Receipts Taxes. We need to stop punishing local small businesses with a tax that their competitors in the city don’t have to pay, which is why my legislation eliminates the Net Income portion of the business taxes by over 10 years and reduces the Wage Tax rates for our residents.
“I am encouraged by the support provided by many business and community organizations through their public testimonies.”
Testimonies provided during the June 2, Committee of the Whole hearing on bills to reduce business and wage tax rates included:
Jabari Jones, President, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative
“We have an opportunity to reform our tax code, answer the decades-long complaint of businesses in this City, and invest in new neighborhood jobs. As the President of a business association, I have seen the unfortunately negative impact of the City’s current tax code. I have seen promising high growth companies driven to relocate outside of the City. They open locations across City Line Avenue in the surrounding suburbs. This has kept our City stagnant, prevented the creation of new jobs and kept our unemployment and poverty rates where they
have been for decades. No social program alone will put a dent in the City’s poverty problem, we need to solve those problems by putting residents to work and putting money into their pockets through new jobs. These tax bills give us an opportunity to change the direction of our City.”
Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
“Entrepreneurs have many options of where to locate and expand their businesses and we want them to choose Philadelphia, but the relative high costs and difficulty of doing business, coupled with the alarming increase in gun violence jeopardize the prospects of a robust recovery. Improving the business environment in the city would encourage entrepreneurs to invest in growing locally and would attract new businesses. This is an important long-term goal worthy of a bold strategy and the proposed elimination of the income portion of the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) within 10-12 years is a good step in that direction.”
Narasimha B. Shenoy, President, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia
“Starting and running a small business is hard enough and shouldn’t be made harder by burdening businesses with higher taxes than its neighbors and other cities. We believe that reducing taxes will bring back businesses and jobs that the City of Philadelphia previously enjoyed. It is imperative that the City provide a competitive environment for businesses to want to make the City of Philadelphia their home.”
Della Clark, President, The Enterprise Center
“We support progressive tax policies that will alleviate the burden that many Black and brown-owned businesses face in Philadelphia. It is no secret these minority business owners have faced significantly greater challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know first-hand that putting money directly into the pockets of business owners will help them to hire more staff, purchase equipment or real estate, and pay down existing debt to facilitate further growth.
The Dining Car Family (60 years operating at Northeast Philadelphia location)
“We understand taxes are necessary, but it is the accumulation of tax after tax, program after program that made it increasingly clear that it simply would not be worth it to operate in Philly since the surrounding municipalities do not charge these fees or have such programs or bans. The Philadelphia Business Privilege Tax is an example of how the City of Philadelphia penalizes small businesses rather than taking the approach to those businesses as partners instead of double taxing struggling business owners. How many more years the Dining Car has left in Philadelphia remains to been seen. We feel our future lies outside the city limits.”
Pam Henshall, President, Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
“The cost of doing business and financial strain on small business owners is causing hardship and forcing executive leadership and business owners to reevaluate if they will remain within the City of Philadelphia. As a result of the increase of small businesses taking on the brunt of the tax burden, I have seen 9% of the membership relocate their operations to the surrounding counties. Companies leaving Philadelphia not only impact the city at large, but it also impacts Northeast Philadelphia, our neighborhoods, and the Chamber.”
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