City Council approves New Economic Opportunity Bills

City Councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr. has introduced sixty-five bills that have been approved by Philadelphia City Council since taking office in January 2000. The last two bills deal with both job creation and job quality. The 45 year-old Chairman of Council’s Commerce and Economic Development Committee formerly served as Vice President of Philadelphia Commercial Development Corporation and as Economic Development Administrator for the Philadelphia Department of Commerce.

City Council has approved the Job Creation Opportunity Extension Bill, introduced by Councilman Goode, extending a two-year employment stimulus program under which a credit against the City's business privilege taxes will be given to businesses that create new jobs within the City of Philadelphia. The businesses will receive a $3000 credit for each new job created for tax years 2012 and 2013, in addition to 2010 and 2011.

Through 2009, 60 firms have participated in the program, promising the creation of 4,463 jobs. The five year period allowed by the initial ordinance to create new jobs has expired for 22 of these 60 firms. As a result, the promised job creation may be reduced from 4,463 to 2,790. To date, 1,026 jobs have been certified as created, resulting in the issuance of $1,630,297 in tax certificates, of which $1,502,322 has been claimed.

City Council has also approved the Leaseholder Wage and Benefits Bill, introduced by Councilman Goode, to broaden the definition of employers subject to New Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance.

The New Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance requires City-supported employers to pay at least 150% of the federal minimum wage to its employees. It also mandates that if the employer provides healthcare benefits to any of its employees, the employer shall provide each full-time employee healthcare benefits at least as valuable as the basic healthcare benefits that are provided to the employer’s other full-time employees. There is an exemption for small businesses. Employers subject to the ordinance include:
(1) The City of Philadelphia, including all its agencies, departments and offices.

(2) For-profit Service Contractors, which receive or are subcontractors on contract(s) for $10,000 or more from the City in a twelve-month period, with annual gross receipts of more than $1,000,000.

(3) Non-profit Service Contractors which receive or are subcontractors on contract(s) from the City of more than $100,000 in a twelve-month period.

(4) Recipients of City leases, concessions, or franchises, or subcontractors thereof, which employ more than twenty-five (25) employees.

(5) City financial aid recipients. Compliance shall be required for a period of five (5) years following receipt of aid.

(6) Public agencies, which receive contract(s) for $10,000 or more from the City in a twelve-month period.

The Leaseholder Wage and Benefits Bill amends the New Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance to establish that a tenant or leaseholder of a City Financial Aid Recipient who occupies property or uses equipment or property that is improved or developed as a result of the City aid shall be considered a “City Financial Aid Recipient” and shall be covered for the same period as the City Financial Aid Recipient of which they are a tenant or leaseholder.

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