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Philadelphia Lawmakers Eye Changes To City’s Business Taxes

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Introduced today in Philadelphia City Council: a plan that could radically alter the city’s business tax by shifting some of the burden from local firms to large, national companies.

But the idea faces an uncertain future.

Councilmembers Bill Green and Maria Quinones Sanchez are pushing a plan that alters the components of the city’s business privilege tax.

One component is a tax on profits, and Green argues that that is unfair because locally bases companies must pay it, while firms based elsewhere can avoid it:

“Under our current system, Philadelphia-based profitable firms are losers, and national firms over ten million dollars are winners.  And we want to turn that around.”

The plan would gradually phase out the tax on profits while boosting the gross receipts portion of the tax.

But the idea faces an uphill battle, including from the local Chamber of Commerce, which includes members both local and national.  The head of the Chamber, Rob Wonderling, says his group is still waiting to see hard data on the impact of such a change:

“Fundamentally it’s a tax shift, as opposed to a tax cut.  And that puts the city’s business community in a difficult position of having to support winners and losers.”

Reported by KYW Newsradio City Hall Bureau Chief Mike Dunn

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