The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce applauds the recent agreement between Mayor Nutter and City Council to work together to improve the city’s business tax structure. The agreement was announced at a press conference on December 15, the result of two days of hearings at which the Chamber and other Philadelphia businesses offered testimony on proposed changes to the Business Privilege Tax (BPT).

Pursuant to last month’s announcement, the Administration and the Council will work together to address four major concerns that were identified in prior Council meetings: create a gross receipts tax exemption for small businesses, move toward a single sales factor, advocate for changes in state law to streamline the process of claiming deduction from income earned in Philadelphia, and work towards an appropriate balance in net income and gross receipts in the future.

Changes to the BPT were originally proposed by Councilwoman Maria-Quinones Sanchez and Councilman Bill Green. While the Chamber applauded these two for recognizing the onerous tax burden on businesses in the City of Philadelphia, we believed that there was considerable disagreement on some elemental fiscal “facts” surrounding this matter as it related to revenue-neutrality and employment numbers.  We explained in our testimony offered during the two-day hearing that the proposed “tax shift” not only creates inherent “winners and losers” across various economic sectors, but also disadvantages within an economic sector as well. Read the GPCC’s testimony here.

Additionally, the GPCC collaborated with the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the African-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, to write a letter-to-the-editor that detailed our concerns with the Green/Sanchez bill. The letter was published in the Philadelphia Daily News and can be read here.

The Chamber commends the Administration and Council for agreeing to work together to address some of the biggest issues in the city’s business tax system. We look forward to working with the Administration, Council and other Philadelphia businesses to create an improved business tax system that will allow the Philadelphia business climate to flourish in the 21st century and into the future.