Tough talk over jobs, BPT taxes

A City Council public hearing yesterday proposed business privilege tax reform legislation, pitting small businesses against big ones and focusing on the burdensome tax structure that forces some companies out of the city.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and Councilman Bill Green say BPT reform would help small businesses create jobs. Foes, including the mayor’s office, claim it will cost the city millions it can’t bear to lose.

“This is about how we, as a city, say, ‘We’re open for business,’” noted Sanchez. “Tax reform that helps small businesses will undoubtedly create jobs. Without building economic wealth, we cannot move Philadelphia forward.”

Witnesses were divided. Moments after Sanchez warned that opponents were “going to use scare tactics about potential job losses,” City Controller Alan Butkovitz cited a Wharton School of Business professor’s op-ed claims that it would “destroy 75,000 jobs.”

“This is Reaganomics by a different name,” he said, likening the debate to the one in Washington, D.C., over the Bush tax cuts.

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