Philly chamber draws a line on taxes

    Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says he wants a soda tax

    Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says he wants a soda tax

    The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has weighed in on some dicey tax and budget issues facing the city, and it has come out neutral on the big issue of the day — Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed sugary drinks tax. But it did draw a line, of sorts.

    It’s interesting to me that while the national Chamber of Commerce takes a hardline conservative stand on a lot of issues and frequently attacks Democrats with negative ads, the Philly chamber is different.

    The local chamber supported sales, property and cigarette tax hikes to fund city schools during the Nutter administration.

    It issued a statement on the city budget battles  and declined to oppose the soda tax. The chamber said that while it generally doesn’t like taxes on a single industry, important goals would be funded.

    But the chamber did make a point of saying that gradual wage and business tax cuts that have been going on for years need to be continued, along with a tax exemption for the smallest businesses (in 2011, Council exempted businesses’ first $100,000 of revenue from a couple of taxes).

    Kenney’s budget keeps the wage and business tax cuts and doesn’t propose eliminating the exemption for small businesses. But, as City Council looks for alternatives to the soda tax, those notions have been discussed.

    Chamber spokesman Joe Grace said that while no one has introduced legislation eliminating those breaks, the chamber it wants to make it clear right away it’s a bad idea.

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