Unusual coalition says Philly must overhaul taxes or lose jobs


Business, union and other leaders are calling for a big tax overhaul in Philadelphia and they acknowledge it won’t happen overnight. The Philadelphia Jobs Growth Coalition believes unless the city wage tax is cut and commercial property taxes are increased to make up for the shortfall, jobs will leave town.  Jerry Sweeney is a co-chair of the group and also sits on WHYY’s board of directors.

“Our analysis is showing that our plan could generate between 50,000 and 100,000 jobs over the next ten years,” Sweeney said.  “Over the next 10 years and our plan is revenue neutral to revenue positive for the city from day one.”

The change isn’t easy but will be worth it says John Doughtery of Electricians Local 98.

“This may be the single most important policy change that we could make to expand employment opportunities boost demands for office space and expand our city taxes,” he said.

The plan would be to increase commercial property taxes and use the money to cut the wage tax to less than 3 percent.  But to carry this out would require changing Pennsylvania’s consitiution, because it demands that taxes be imposed uniformly. Getting that through the legislature is an uphill battle to say the least.


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