The 5 Most Absurd Laws Still on the Books in Philly

Spoiler alert: You should probably stop feeding the pigeons in Rittenhouse

1. 10-601 of the Philadelphia Code (enacted 1903) prohibits spitting on city streets, sidewalks, subways and floors and passageways of public buildings. Unenforced today (maybe unenforceable), but if we did collect fines for every offense, we could generate the revenue to eliminate the city wage tax.

2. 5-900 of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter (enacted 1951) mandates that offices of the director of finance, auditing department, department of collections and city treasurer be located “adjacent” to each other for efficient operation and convenience to the public. Happily, the charter didn’t dictate that office rugs match the drapes.

3. 19-2600 of the Philadelphia Code (enacted in its current form in 1984) established the business privilege tax, which is screwed up from the start: Owning a business isn’t a privilege to be taxed, it’s economic development to be encouraged.

4.10-110 of the Philadelphia Code (enacted 1986) prohibits feeding pigeons in public places.

5. 9-212 of the Philadelphia Code (enacted 2000) makes it illegal to locate a newsstand within 30 feet of a church, synagogue or mosque. We like to make those priests, rabbis and imams walk a block or two to pick up their morning papers.