Today, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia President and CEO Rob Wonderling testified in support of Bill 190857. Below is a copy of his testimony.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
City Hall, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19107

Testimony provided by: Rob Wonderling, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Good afternoon Councilwoman Quinones Sanchez, Councilwoman Parker and members of the Committee on Appropriations. My name is Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. I’m here today to offer testimony in support of Bill 190857. 

The business community is focused on inclusive, neighborhood-level growth. This spring, the Chamber of Commerce began a new initiative — the PHL Neighborhood Growth Project, which grew out of our Roadmap for Growth program — that focuses on inclusive, neighborhood-level growth. The African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, & DE, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have partnered with us in this regard.

The PHL Neighborhood Growth Project is built around the recognition that addressing the city’s deep poverty won’t be accomplished through a single program or policy, but will take a coordinated, broad effort across government, businesses and community leaders. It will require improving public education, public safety, and job training. It will require laws, taxes, and regulations that are easy to understand and applied equally and consistently.

Philadelphia is in the midst of a renaissance that began 30 years ago, its skyline is filled with cranes and downtown buildings with new residents and workers, and the city is winning accolades for its quality of life. But as the Chamber of Commerce found in the first of its Council District-by-Council District analysis of key measures of strength and stability, issued as part of the Roadmap to Growth initiative, the city’s prosperity isn’t shared across neighborhoods.

Bill 190857 authorizes a transfer of $20 million into the Commerce Department’s Economic Stimulus Fund, $10 million of which will go towards the business corridor cleaning program, PHL Taking Care of Business. We support this program as it will create 300 new jobs, reduce blight and litter, help retain and attract businesses and residents, and decrease poverty and crime. This proposal fits in well with the Chamber’s call to create a “Neighborhood Renaissance Fund” (NRF). Creating safe, clean, and welcoming commercial corridors is essential if we are going to stem the tide of neighborhood job decline across all neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia. Councilwoman Parker’s initiative has proven to be successful in her Council district. We now look forward to working with the Councilwoman and her colleagues to advance this program in commercial corridors throughout the city.

Thank you for offering the opportunity to testify in support of this program. We look forward to working with all members of Council on advancing an agenda that supports job creation at the neighborhood level.