The Brief: This Mayor’s Race Is Bad For Business

Big business, that is. Plus, Jim Kenney's last day in council and questions for the candidates from Philly techies.

Big business is lost in the jungle this mayor's race. |

Big business is lost in the jungle this mayor’s race. |

Yesterday in City Council, some of the leading advocates of lower wage and business taxes showed up at a hearing for Councilman David Oh’s quixotic (and politically doomed) bid to lower the wage tax from 3.92 percent to 2.09 percent by 2025.

The Center City District’s Paul Levy was there. So was Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. They weren’t testifying in favor of Oh’s approach, but they made familiar arguments about the need for the city to fundamentally restructure its approach to taxation by getting more revenue out of property taxes and less from wage and business taxes. The thinking is this will stoke job creation.

It’s a big idea, and one worthy of serious debate in the mayoral election. But I don’t know that there’s a single candidate in the field now that would champion the cause. And that underscores a bigger problem for the city’s business community: they don’t appear to have a candidate in this election.

Until last week, the business candidate was probably Ken Trujillo, who was fully behind the tax shift Levy proposes. But now Trujillo is gone, and the void he created has been filled not by another businessman, but by Jim Kenney. Kenney is thistight with labor unions. He’s championed higher payments for pensioners. His voting record on taxes and tax reductions is mixed, at least from the point of view of business interests.

So who will those interests support now? Anyone? Or is business, and its priorities, about to be shut out a mayoral election?

  • Jim Kenney will attend his last City Council meeting as a councilmember today. He’s been there 23 years, and the sendoff is sure to be worth watching. You can tune in live on Channel 64. Council meetings theoretically start at 10 a.m., but really there’s no telling how long it will be before Kenney says his goodbyes.
  • Mayor Nutter will offer his final address to the Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the downtown Sheraton. The address is usually a pretty big deal. Nutter first began pitching his (aborted) plan to sell PGW at a commerce luncheon. The event is closed if you’re not already registered, but look for news reports.
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  • The city’s tech community has come up with a list of 15 questions for the mayoral candidates curated by the big minds over at Philly. Citified is really looking forward to hearing if Lynne Abraham supports “the development, maintenance and use of APIs to distribute and leverage city data whenever possible, rather than static snapshot data sets.”
  • It’ll take four years and cost $150 million, but the long, long overdue renovation of the City Hall subway complex will get underway in about a year, reports Paul Nussbaum for the Inquirer.
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