Who’s the Best Mayoral Candidate For Small Business?

Doug Oliver. | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

Doug Oliver | Photo by Jeff Fusco.

The U.S. Census reports that there are more than 100,000 small businesses within the city limits of Philadelphia. And that number’s probably understated because there are likely many SOHO (small office home office) and part-time independent contractors not considered. Plus there’s been economic growth since the data was accumulated.

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Seven Reasons to Feel Super About Center City

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Philadelphians are head over heels in love with Center City.

More than 87 percent of downtown residents and workers believe Center City is headed in the right direction, whereas only 62 percent think that is the case for the entire city, according to a poll of 2,700 people by the Center City District.

Their optimism is well-founded. The CCD’s annual report, which the nonprofit released Monday, is full of good news:
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Hey You Guys: In Philadelphia, Paying Your Taxes Is Basically Optional

The Department of Revenue's home , the Municipal Services Building. Photo by Paulina Isaac.

The Department of Revenue’s home , the Municipal Services Building. Photo by Paulina Isaac.

Hey, Millennials! Everyone has been trying to convince you that Philadelphia is an awesome place to live, and it is. Sure, we have lots of crime. Yes, parts of the city are disgusting and filthy. And it’s true that race relations are as hot and sticky as a Biloxi summer. But the restaurants and bars are great. And we’re fairly walkable. And the biggest benefit of living here, working here and owning a home here of all: You don’t have to pay your taxes. Read more »

PSA: Mayor Nutter’s Property Tax Hike Would Only Cost You a Cheesesteak a Month


Say, can you spare a cheesesteak?

A new ad from the city government says that Mayor Michael Nutter’s plan to raise property taxes by 9 percent would cost the typical homeowner an extra $104 annually. Need that translated into your favorite stereotypical Philly food? The ad (below) does just that: $104 is the price of “a cheesesteak once a month” or “4 soft pretzels a week.” Read more »

Darrell Clarke: Fund Philly Schools By Cracking Down on Tax Deadbeats

Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr

Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr

A Philadelphia lawmaker has a plan to fund the city’s schools and crack down on tax deadbeats at the same time.

City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a bill Thursday that would expand the local government’s ability to sell liens on commercial properties.

He says it could raise “millions of dollars” annually for Philadelphia’s schools. He did not provide a more specific figure.

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Philadium Shut Down


Photo by @labelle_19

The Philadium has been shut down by the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue for taxes owed. Michael Klein is reporting that the South Philadelphia bar owes almost $20,000 in taxes and fined $1,400 last May for operating with an expired liquor license.

Whether this closure is temporary or permanent, the Phillies opening day on Monday might happen without the popular Packer Avenue bar for the first time since 1977.

City Paper’s Caroline Russock was just at the Philadium in January for her Pint Sighs feature (two screwdrivers, two Heinekens and a roast pork sandwich for $26.50).

Philadium shut down over back taxes [The Insider]
Pint Sighs: Philadium Tavern [City Paper]


What Tom Wolf Wants in His Big, Bold Budget — and What He’s Likely to Get

Gov. Wolf | Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Gov. Wolf | Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Gov. Tom Wolf‘s budget “contains the most ambitious and bold set of proposals in modern history.”

That’s according to Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College who has been watching state budget battles for the past 35 years. Wolf wants to boost educating spending, raise some taxes, cut other taxes, and increase the minimum wage.

We asked Madonna what parts of Wolf’s budget could realistically pass in the GOP-controlled state legislature, and what’ll likely end up dying. Let’s break this down point by point:

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Councilman Jones: Nutter’s Property Tax Hike Proposal a “Heavy Lift”

Councilman Curtis Jones. Photo | City Council Flickr

Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.; Photo | City Council Flickr

Before Mayor Michael Nutter even gave his final budget address Thursday, there were signs his plan to raise property taxes was on life support.

Nutter is going to propose this morning a 9.3 percent increase in the property tax rate to provide an infusion of cash to the city’s financially troubled schools. The Philadelphia School District is facing an $80 million budget deficit in 2015-16, and has asked the city for an extra $103 million.

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Tom Wolf’s Incredible Plan to Overhaul Philly Taxes


Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his first budget plan for Pennsylvania Tuesday, and it’s nothing if not ambitious.

What got a little lost in the coverage of Wolf’s budget address, though, is that he is also proposing big changes for Philadelphia’s local taxes. The Wolf administration says his budget would provide about $538 million in tax relief for the city, which would be funded by his planned hike on statewide personal income and sales taxes. Here are the specifics, via Wolf spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan, which he says would all go into effect in 2016-17:

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State Senators Art Haywood, Vincent Hughes Propose 8 Percent Shale Tax


Two Philadelphia-area Democrats have unveiled their plan to tax natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale.

Sens. Art Haywood and Vincent Hughes announced their proposal at a Thursday afternoon press conference. Their plan would impose an 8 percent severance tax and a 1.9 percent “impact fee.” 

The 8 percent tax would be expected to bring more than $1 billion in new state revenues just during the first year — of that, $100 million would be set aside for the “Growing Greener” environmental protection program, after which 60 percent would be distributed to public schools and the other 40 percent to shore up the state’s underfunded pension fund for public workers.

“It has become increasingly clear that our public education system is woefully underfunded and our unfunded pension liability continues to grow,” Haywood said in a memorandum seeking cosponsors for the bill. “These financial challenges are needless in light of the natural richness of our commonwealth. We cannot afford to continue to ignore the resources in our own backyard.”
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