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[Testimony] The Chamber Supports City Review of Tax Incentives Usage and Impact

Posted Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Advocacy, Testimony & Correspondence

COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL
PUBLIC HEARING

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
City Hall, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19107

Testimony by: Yvette Núñez, Vice President of Civic Affairs, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Good afternoon, Councilman Jones and members of the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. I am Yvette Núñez, Vice President of Civic Affairs at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on Bill No. 161015.

The Chamber’s mission is to attract, retain and grow jobs for the city and region. We follow principles of economic competitiveness to guide our public policy. We believe that government at all levels must operate in an efficient way to maximize the services that it provides, and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia will work with other organizations to advance an agenda leading to economic growth and prosperity.

It is core to the region’s future that the Chamber continues to be a strong advocate for comprehensive tax reform at the city level as it improves competitiveness and encourages economic development and job creation in Philadelphia. The Chamber seeks to advance this issue at the local level by supporting a long-term, sustainable approach to reducing the cost of government, examining utilization rates of tax incentives to effectuate economic growth.

The Chamber applauds Councilman Domb for the introduction of Bill No. 161015 and for efforts encouraging a third party to work with the City’s Commerce Department to examine which tax benefits, tax exemptions, abatements and credits are being utilized, while also noting areas for improvement, and for a determination of the economic impact of the various tax incentives the city has in place. The Chamber urges City Council to ensure the tax credits offered by the City promote economic growth and calls for careful examination of existing resources and tax incentive programs.

Historically Philadelphia is notable for some of the highest business tax rates amongst larger cities in the nation, and the existing tax structure has caused the city to struggle economically in previous years. In efforts to create jobs, and keep businesses in the city, numerous tax incentives and exemptions were enacted. However it is unclear without further examination if the many tax incentives offered do in fact stimulate business growth or generate tax revenue.

The Chamber urges thoughtful and deliberate analysis when considering regulations impacting taxes at the local level. We are happy to serve as partners in guiding legislation so as to best effectuate a policy’s intent. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on Bill No. 161015.

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