Mayor: More Tax Reform. But We Need More Than Half Measures

In his annual budget address, Mayor Street proposed additional cuts to the Gross Receipts portion of the Business Privilege Tax, to be funded by an increase in the Parking Tax. 

All of us who have worked so hard to show that taxes hold Philadelphia back and that tax reform can move Philadelphia forward should be proud -- our continued advocacy for tax reform is making a positive difference!  We are not debating whether to reform our taxes, but how to do it!  But this is no time to be satisfied.

While the increase in the Parking Tax is an acceptable source for new revenues that was suggested by the Tax Reform Commission, the additional tax reductions are a step in the right direction, but not sufficient to grow jobs in Philadelphia and reverse our long-term slide. 

In his speech, the Mayor spoke many times about making Philadelphia a World Class city, but unless we remove the fundamental barrier to growth that is our oppressive tax structure, we will continue to be a city that loses jobs and neighbors. 

Last year alone, we lost about 15,000 residents and 10,000 jobs.

The Mayor's proposed additional tax cuts are limited to the Gross Receipts portion of the tax and he would only legislate one year of cuts (with additional cuts "planned").  That is just not enough to help grow jobs in Philadelphia...

  • FIRST, because the proposed cuts would only affect the Gross Receipts portion of the tax, which only taxes sales in Philadelphia, the reductions would do nothing to help businesses that do not cater to local demand.  So the cuts would do little to help fill Center City's emptying office towers with large firms that compete nationally and internationally -- and they would do nothing to little to help retain the technology firms that incubate in University City only to leave the city to avoid the Net Income portion of the tax.  The Tax Reform Commission recommended eliminating the tax over the course of the next decade to grow jobs in Philadelphia.  
  • SECOND, the proposed cuts are not certain (they are not put into law as the Tax Reform Commission's planned phase out), and they do not allow firms to make plans based on the future reductions.  If we can show firms a schedule of legislated cuts (as we can with the Wage Tax cuts we won last spring), we could help them make the decision to come to or stay in Philadelphia.

You can TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW to tell the city's elected officials that the Business Privilege Tax is a job-killing tax that should be phased out so we can
grow jobs in Philadelphia.  Your message will be copied to the local media and local community groups to reinforce that message.

Philadelphia Forward will continue to spread the word about the push for reform.  Watch this video for a view of some of our plans to promote the Tax Reform Commission's recommendation to eliminate the job-killing Business Privilege Tax.