GPCC President Rob Wonderling testified in opposition today on City Council legislation 130161, which sets a U & O tax rate that is double the U & O rate set forth in legislation offered by the Nutter Administration.  Passage of bill 130161 would be the fifth tax increase in the last four years, totaling some $275 million.

Testimony of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

On City Council Bill 130161

May 17, 2013

Good morning Chairman Green, Councilwoman Quinones Sanchez, and members of the Finance Committee. I am Rob Wonderling, President & CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC), and am here today to testify on Bill 130161, which offers an exemption from the Use & Occupancy tax for certain small city businesses, and also sets a U & O tax rate that is higher than the U & O rate set forth in legislation offered by the Nutter Administration.

Over the past few months, Council has proposed a series of measures to generate additional revenues for the City without raising taxes.  In February, Council introduced a measure to examine how the City collects delinquent property taxes – a total delinquency exceeding $500 Million. The Chamber testified in support of Council’s initiative – and supports Mayor Nutter’s efforts as well to invest resources to better collect delinquent taxes.

Council President Clarke has introduced a bill to create a new Chief Revenue Generation Officer for Philadelphia, to seek innovations to raise revenues for the city – without raising taxes. The Chamber supports this idea – as well as the mayor’s appointment of Tom Knudsen to a new post, chief revenue collections officer, to coordinate all city efforts to collect delinquent taxes owed the city.

The Chamber also testified this spring in support of the Council President’s proposal to establish a comprehensive plan for advertising on city property – to generate millions of dollars in new city revenues – again, without raising taxes.

These proposals are all worth supporting on their merits. They also earned our support given the recent, unfortunate trends that have seen City Hall approve tax increases totaling $275 Million over the past four years.