By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A city councilman wants to expand the amount of advertising that’s allowed on Philadelphia newsstands, with some of the extra revenue going to the city.
It was three years ago that newsstand owners throughout the city were first given the right to slap ads on the sides of their kiosks. Now, at-large councilman Bill Greenlee has introduced a bill that would double the amount of ad space allowed on each side, from 28 square feet to 56 square feet.
Ad space on the front and backs of the stands would also increase. In addition, the measure would let the newsstands have, for the first time, large electronic ads and wraps.
Greenlee says the newsstand owners are hurting and need the revenue.
“People don’t buy as many newspapers from newsstands anymore. So in order to have these individuals keep thriving, I think we have to work with them.”
Greenlee admits that the idea for the legislation came from the local newsstand association, but he added in benefit to taxpayers: under the bill the new larger ads would, for the first time, be subject to a seven-percent excise tax.
Greenlee does not have any estimates on how much extra revenue this would bring to the city. The councilman understands that opponents of outdoor advertising will likely be up in arms, but he doesn’t see the harm.
“In my opinion it also enlivens the environment of particularly the center city streets, particularly in off hours. It would make it a little brighter, a little more, I think, inviting to walk along,” he said.
The measure will be debated in committee. Greenlee says “there will discussion” with the expected opponents about revisions.