Nutter is Running

Well, here we go:

Getting a head start on his rivals, City Councilman Michael A. Nutter confirmed last night that he will resign his Council seat in a matter of days to run for mayor next year.

"Tomorrow I will write a letter to the Council president, laying out my timetable for leaving City Council," Nutter said in a brief interview. "I expect to leave by the end of the first week in July."

Along with Tom Knox, that makes two candidates. We can expect up to 4 more.What people want

Mike Nutter is a smart guy, without question. And, he seems to do a good job organizing his constituents, got us a smoking ban, etc. But, I am probably never going to vote for him. Why? Remember this graph?

It asks people in the City what is most important to them. And taxes is all the way down at number ten. This makes sense, because as many of our high priced suburbs, along with the large amount of thriving private schools in Philly show, people are willing to invest money in their future, as long as they think it is being spent wisely.

So, when you go to Councilman Nutter's website, what is his front and center issue? Why, it is taxes, of course. So, who exactly is he appealing to with that message? Certainly not your average Philadelphia resident. Instead, it seems a lot more likely to be towards potential contributors.

As I said, Councilman Nutter is a smart guy. With that intelligence comes responsibility. He knows that 1)Taxes are not a pressing issue for most Philadelphians and 2)That simply lowering them will not create some magical business growth in Philadelphia. There are many things he could do to help small business owners. But cutting the BPT will barely make a dent in anything, if at all. If this is the issue that remains front and center for Nutter, he a)is only winning in a very splintered election and b)will not have my vote. Now, if he moves on from his Chamber of Commerce focused message, and proposes new ideas and real solutions for the people of Philly? I would listen.

Nutter is a smart guy, who ran against the machine in a district where people said an African-American could not win. He has ability. I do not think he is currently using it wisely. I hope that as the season approaches, we will ask Nutter and the rest of the candidates these questions directly, as we do a series of YPP interviews.

I want to see a candidate dev

I want to see a candidate develop a vision for the city, it's development, it's attraction of population and it's public education. A true leader with a vision. If taxes were to remain static, then I would not mind paying for these ideas. But, we do have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. So, maybe something needs to be done, but I would focus on getting the most bang for our buck for what we pay now.

Nutter may be the best of the bunch.

On an unrelated note, what scares me about Doc is he is beholden to union interests. I support unions and thing they are very important. But, if the city were to face financial crisis, I am afraid Doc would sell us down the river in contract negotiations. Could he make the decision's Rendell had to make in the early 1990s? I do not think so. I welcome anyone to tell me why I am wrong.

If I may

Daniel, I think I disagree with you. Right now, Nutter is the only black candidate running. Supposedly Fattah is up in the air. If he decides not to run, who else is going to get the black vote? Nutter right now is running for the white vote, which I think explains the emphasis on taxes.

Once Fattah puts his hat in the ring, watch Nutter run to the left.

Of course, that's just my 9:30am, half a cup of coffee interpretation.

Cheers!

Read On

Dan - I appreciate the spirit of your comments, but please - read the rest of Nutter's website and learn about other aspects of his record. Also, please keep in mind that while "tax cutting" might not be the most prominent thing on Philadelphians' minds, tax competitiveness is crucial if we're to compete for new jobs and to retain those we have.

Crime will never change without a different vision

We can hire as many cops as we want, but crime will never decrease without a different approach to the way this city does business. We must create a more competitive business environment to attract jobs and residents (or at least stop the outflow).

Decreasing the tax burden would release the stranglehold burdensome taxes have had on our city's development since the middle of the 20th century.

Nutter is a smart guy. He recently proposed adding more police to the force instead of just paying the existing officers more overtime. He will create a comprehensive public safety plan that will appeal to the city at large, but he will also continue to push for tax cuts to help Philadelphia in the long term.

In fairness' sake

If you're going to refer to Councilman Nutter's not-yet-officially-a-campaign website, provide a link so people can judge for themselves. I ran into him at a fundraiser for the Library last week, and I have a lot of respect for him.

As some of you already know, at the same time, I'm serving on the Fattah for Mayor Exploratory Committee, so I'm not quite sure how much I'm going to be saying in an unofficial capacity about the race. It's going to be an interesting season from November to May, though . . .

Check out the Rest of His Record, Please

Dan - I don't expect you to be a Nutter supporter, so I'm not trying to convince you to join us...however, I will implore you to look beyond Nutter's (and many other folks) support of tax competitiveness for Philadelphia, and see what else the man has done to advance progressive, good government policies in Philadelphia. Like his local/low income hiring preference bills, his work in support of Fairmount Park, Philadelphia Community College, his strong constituent/community services, etc. He’s done a lot and if you and others could get beyond your sometimes irrational opposition to advancing tax competitiveness for Philadelphia, you’ll see that he’s an intelligent, progressive, dedicated, honest, diligent and visionary public servant.

Nutter need not apologize

If a Mayor Nutter (or Mayor Anyone) were to succeed in cutting business and income taxes, he/she would do more to create jobs, grow the tax base and improve this city than any other policy platform being advocated by any of the potential candidates. He shouldn't have to apologize for putting the city's longest-standing and systemic problem at or near the top of his list.

oversimplification

Don't you think you're conclusions are a little simplistic?

If you're a doctor who's patient complains about chest pains, but the chest plains are caused by a blood clot in their leg, will you still perform open heart surgery?

The biggest reason for lowering the city's business taxes is to make it more competitive when it tries to attract and retain businesses. While this doesn't always work (especially at the national/macroeconomic level), it definitely makes sense to do at the local level in Philadelphia.

Without getting into a lengthy explanation of why cutting taxes makes sense in Philadelphia, I'll move on and say that attracting and retaining businesses in Philadelphia will create more, higher paying jobs (no, cutting taxes isn't the only thing that's needed, but it's definitely one of them).

Creating more, higher paying jobs within Philadelphia will help do the following for the city:

- Lower the crime rate (people with jobs are less likely to commit crimes)
- Make housing more affordable (people with jobs are more likely to be able to afford housing).
- Attract more retail, for convenient shopping (people with jobs have a higher purchasing power, making more commercial development financially feasible).
- Bring jobs closer to city neighborhoods where Philadelphians live (duh!).

There, addressing the 10th biggest issue people look at when (re)locating will also go a long way towards addressing 4 out of the 9 issues above it. That's 5/10 of the top 10 issues, all addressed to a significant extent with one little piece of legislation.

I agree that lowering taxes isn't the only thing that needs to be done, but I wouldn't disagree with Nutter if he were to put that at the very top of his tentative mayoral agenda.

I also seem to remember Nutter being one of the most vocal proponents of the additional $10 million in funding for extra police officers (a fairly insignificant sum in a city budget of $3.7 billion, if you have your priorities straight).

Last, but not least, you would appear to suggest in your blog entry that you would support the candidate who panders the most to polls and statistics. Am I reading between the lines correctly? Doesn't sound like a very smart way to vote.

Conceptually, I am having a v

Conceptually, I am having a very difficult with the "best of." I appreciate the time and effort spent in doing so (I really do, I thought it was nice and informative), but Dan's post was about Nutter, taxes and improving the city. Thus, the context was necessarily related to taxes (BPT, etc.) and I can honestly say, no side persuades me 100%.

But, it is not my site and I have read each article on the "best of." If avoiding redundancy in commentary (it does not seem this applies to posts)is a goal, and considering my enjoyment of the full and frank discussion on YPP, I am happy to oblige.

done, thanks

done, thanks

a bit too quick

It's a bit patronizing to assume that black voters make their choices based purely on race. It's certainly a factor, but their overwhelming support for Rendell over Swann indicate that issues and capability are even more important. All the candidates will have to prove themselves to voters of many types, with vision and sincerity, if they want to win this city...

acm

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead

Taxes relate to everything

Stan Shapiro

"Looking beyond" Nutter's tax record, I see an indifference to the impact of starving the government. The "irrational opposition" to Nutter's tax cutting is aware of the connection between what comes in and what goes out. So it's the same "irrational opposition" that exists in regard to elimination of the estate tax, reduced taxes on capital gains, and other giveaways to the rich at the cost of the rest of us. Taxation is still the price of civilization. It can be reformed in terms of who pays how much. But calling tax repeal tax reform doesn't make it so.

Arguing for preservation and enhancement of Fairmount Park without providing the resources to make that goal achievable does not make one a true advocate of the Park, or of any city services. Of course if Nutter can teach us how to make gold out of hay, we won't have a problem. But no matter how many times we utter simple cliches like "we must improve competitiveness," supply-side alchemy is still a producer only of fool's gold. And that won't pay for a decent and livable city.

Sorry for the delay

This goes for all my comments- sorry for the delayed response.

But, why am I focusing on taxes? Because Nutter has literally put them front and center. As I said in the post, there are things he has done that are good. But if his claim to fame is going to be lowering businesses taxes, and he literally puts in front and center, I am going to mention it.

And, you say my opposition to lowering the BPT is irrational? Why, because I don't agree with you? Because I think there are many, many other things that we could do that would help grow good jobs and local small businesses than slashing business taxes? That doesn't sound irrational to me, at all.

I like that you put tax cutti

I like that you put tax cutting in quotation marks, but not tax competetiveness. Frank Luntz would be proud.

But anyway, the reason I talked about it is because when I read the article, I immediately went on Nutter's website, and.... there it was, literally front and center.

Who's oversimplifying?

Stan Shapiro

What? It's oversimplifying to say eliminating the BPT can all by itself make the city into Paradise by the Delaware? How's that again? It's Nutter, the Chamber and the rich beneficiaries of across the board tax cutting who claim they've found the silver bullet. I, for one, certainly don't claim that there's one "simple" bill that can do everything but put an end to cancer. (And actually, your logic suggests one simple tax cutting bill can. After all, tax cutting produces jobs. Presumably many of those jobs will be in the health care field since that's such a large part of Philly's economy. More health-related jobs means more research, and that means, voila, an end to disease. Right?)

I know the tax abolishers always insist that they recognize that more needs to be done. But they don't specify anything else, or if so with no real conviction. And they are perfectly willing to put every other policy at risk by starving them for money.

Let's be frank. There is a moral issue here which the abolishers just don't want to acknowledge. Those who benefit from our economic system have a moral obligation to preserve and enhance the society that nurtures them. That costs money. Mere theorizing about how paying less produces more is just a convenient intellectual ploy to avoid grappling with that moral obligation.

Indeed. Let's abolish all taxes, and all business regulation to boot! Businesses will hire more people at higher wages, crime will go away, housing will flourish, more businesses will flock into the city, everyone will be in a great frame of mind, and . . . if we implement this plan on a world-wide basis . . . there will be war no more.

There must be something wrong with this plan, but I don't know what it is.

i think

I am not Ray, so, he can explain better, but:

We have an ever growing numnber of commenters on the site, which is 100 percent a great thing. The reality is that it means that sometimes though we go in a little bit of circles, hearing the same arguments from new people, or the same arguments from the same people. That is not, in of itself, a completely terrible thing, just sort of a reality of a growing community.

But, I think the thrust of Ray's point is that he wants to make sure we keep our eyes ont he prize: concrete ideas to grow Philadelphia's economy that don't neccesarily come from the chamber of commerce, etc. To that end, he has posted a number of attempts to try and move the debate past taxes, and on to other ideas, so that we are not always banging our head against the wall. So, just take it as a good natured attempt to find some policy ideas that don't have naything to do with the BPT that we can flesh out here, and really try to push in the next 2 years.

Thanks

I find your open mind refreshing and your cliches are definitely better than mine. You win - tax competitiveness is a terrible concept - what was the tax reform commission thinking :)

My apologies

I don't mean to come across as patronizing. I know that, in this city (think Katz v. Street and the racial breakdown of that vote), in past elections, white folks tend to vote for white folks and black folks tend to vote for black folks.

Is this a gross over-simplification? Of course it is. But it's also almost a year before the primary. A campaign paints with broad brush strokes at this point.

As for the Rendell v. Swann analogy, I agree that it shoots holes in my theory, so I'd like amend my theory. In local politics, where everyone is from where you're from, race matters a lot more. I would view Rendell v. Swann as our boy vs. their boy. Of course, this doesn't mean that issues and capability don't have a lot to do with it, but I think that a certain amount of pride is afixed to that particular race.

Thanks for pointing out my gross generalizations and alerting me without flying off the handle.

More of the same not a winning argument

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses of all shapes and sizes in nearby suburbs that will testify to the city's tax burden as their primary reason for not locating in Philadelphia proper.

There are also several HUNDRED THOUSAND former Philly residents in the Willow Groves or Cherry Hills of the world who have voted with their feet against the infamous wage tax over the past three decades.

If not for the burden of Philadelphia's tax burden (by comparison), then many of those businesses and citizens would be contributing their resources to Fairmount Park, to better Philadelphia schools, to neighborhood businesses.

More of the same is not a winning argument, whether it's in Iraq or in our hometown.

Could you please elaborate on

Could you please elaborate on those "many, many other things" we could do to attract/retain businesses?

Not trying to put you on the spot. Just wondering if I should re-evaluate my support for cutting business taxes in Philadelphia.

I wish you would've replied t

I wish you would've replied to more of my post than just the title and one statement made close to the end. Furthermore, nowhere did I say anything about "abolishing" all taxes.

Since you ask, in addition to making the city's taxes more competitive, we need to have city employees who will reach out to prospective employers and assist them with the move to Philadelphia, as well as simplifying the tax structure (which DanielUA alluded to in his reply to my other post). From what I hear, though, we seem to already have that. It's kind of hard to convince many businesses to move someplace where the tax burned is so much higher than a mile or two away, though (notice I didn't say "where there are taxes" but, rather, "where the tax burden is so much higher").

A good way to pay for the tax cuts is to eleminate some of the waste and bloat in city government. I recently saw a breakdown of the city budget with a pie chart showing that fully about 60% (I think that was roughly the number) of the $3+ billion budget is spent on salaries, benefits and pensions for city employees. I've also heard that the city still employs the same number of people it did back when the population was significantly larger and productivity hadn't been elevated to the level it has today by technological advances. Draw your own conclusions.

Yep.

I pulled out a few articles from the blog that I consider the "best of" because both their writers and past commenters had spent a lot of time on them. If I wanted to be be the "thought police," I would have turned off comments on this post (which other blogs do).

See, of course anyone can do what they want. But, actually living together in a community means we talk about standards for behavior. Reading the same 3 people debate the same 3 points about the BPT is boring when it's already been discussed to death and neither side has really budged.

That's why I thought it was helpful for newcomers to see what had already been discussed. and for old-timers to be reminded. My hope was that people who are new, could read, catch up on the arguments, and then produce new evidence--one way or the other---for their side.

An example of someone who does this is mdcphilly. I don't agree with a lot of his positions on issues, but I will say on his behalf that he constantly produces new ideas, evidence and arguments for his perspective.

Unlike mdc, it's my sense that some of our newer commenters are grinding the same old axes not out of a real desire for dialogue, but instead for personal or political gain.

And, as has been said before, this site has a mission: to bring young people in Philadelphia together around some objective standards of "progressivity" and one day move shit. Those standards develop every day as more and more people join the fold, and discuss, but that is where we're heading.

Dialogue on tax policy is VIT

Dialogue on tax policy is VITALLY IMPORTANT. But, if you think that "white flight" was the result of the city wage tax (referencing "several HUNDRED THOUSAND former Philly residents in the Willow Groves or Cherry Hills of the world who have voted with their feet against the infamous wage tax over the past three decades") or the business privilege tax, you are dead wrong. Surely it may contribute to why some people do not want to move back, but it is not why they left in the first place.

White flight occurred for a number of SOCIAL and POLITICAL FACTORS. These include increasing racial tensions, increasingly tight housing markets, highway policy, and FHA and VA lending policies, among other factors. At the time, these elements created a cycle that made leaving better than staying. The extraordinarily high wage tax is a result of the flight that ensued, not the cause.

I think it is more correct to say, that the several hundred thousand former Philadelphians left for a myriad of reasons, which resulted in an increased tax burden to pay for services such as schools, trash collection, etc. It is also more correct to say, since the mid-to-late 1970s, the high tax burden has perhaps made it more unattractive for people to come back. But, this ignores a HUGE point. That people choose where they live based on the quality of the schools, clean streets and the safety of the communities. We have to improve these areas throughout the city to keep and attract population. This goes beyond empty nesters, grad students and Double-Income-No-Kids types. It goes to families. Center City is doing a great job attracting a certain type of person. But, our neighborhoods need to attract and maintain families.

I would venture to say, it is not that we have a high tax burden that keeps people away, but that we do not spend our money properly thereby not giving people a reason to stay and/or come back. That is what must change. Before we can talk about lowering taxes (which I am entirely for), we should first talk about spending what we have properly and efficiently. Only then will we EVER have a true accounting of what our tax burden needs to be. The next mayor must undertake a huge performance review of City Government to eliminate waste and look at options to make spending more efficient.

real quick

Off of the top of my head, if the City wanted to help attract new businesses, they could invest in job training to ensure there is a large labor force with a specific set of skills.

In terms of helping to create and foster small businesses (which is how the BPT cut is always portrayed), how about blowing up the endless amount of red tape, and stifling maze that small business owners have to go through to set up shop in Philly. Totally anecdotally, but from talking with local small business owners, I have heard this refrain: I don't care that much about the BPT, what I care about is that I 1)have to jump through way too many hoops to get my business off of the ground or 2)when something goes wrong, some form is misplaced, etc, I have to spend two full days at City Hall to straighten it out.

Then, again, letting small business owners pay taxes each month, instead of at the end of the year.

I can post more tomorrow. So can Ray, Mike, whomever.

Stan Shapiro Not to belabo

Stan Shapiro

Not to belabor this, but I did reply to more than your title. I said I agreed with most of your post which details all the things that will magically arise from cutting taxes. Then I suggested that if all of those wonderful things would happen from merely cutting taxes, imagine the payoff if we abolished them altogether.

And if a discussion about complete abolition of taxes sounds farfetched, let me remind you that Councilman Nutter, who this string was originally about, actually did propose and fight hard for, completely eliminating the major business tax in the City, the Business Privilege Tax. He was not for cutting it; he wanted it to be gone. He has also been a leader in cutting the Wage Tax and in fighting increases in the property tax. At the same time, he has insisted on maintaining city services.

So if my ideas seem to reflect magical thinking, get used to it if Nutter actually gets elected Mayor.

Tried to qualify it

I attempted (maybe poorly) to qualify my point by stating "many" (i.e. not all) businesses and citizens would change their location if the tax burden were less. My experience has been that the wage and BP taxes have such a "brand" around them that they certainly prevent possible newcomers from even considering Philly, and that's our loss.

I agree with you on being accountable and efficient with whatever spending we have. Nevertheless, I'm with Nutter (and any likeminded candidates) that taxes have to be near the top of any mayor's or councilperson's list.

Assessing Government is a Critical Piece

Caetanus:

I like your posting and commenting. It is much needed on this site. Dan and Ray have done a great job convincing me--as have some small business people--that taxes are not the end all and be all of our city's options to improve.

At the same time, it is not uncommon on this site for posters to say that Philadelphia city government shouldn't cut staff because there aren't enough middle class jobs. That unfortunately is not the metric that should determine whether a city worker should keep their job. City jobs should be kept or thrown out based on the value that an individual position provides.

Too many jobs in this city including those in the Port Authority, the Parking Authority, L&I, the myriad of housing agencies, Innovation Philadelphia and elsewhere are just a complete and utter waste of time and money. All that money could be spent on education (assuming you break the boundary between the general budget and the school district) or some other worthwhile cause to improve the quality of life in our city.

There are lots of dirty secrets in our city that politicians won't discuss because they'll lose allies. Did you know that the Port of Philadelphia loses 5 million dollars a year? And that's after receiving substantial subsidies. One of the economic engines of our region is basically a pork barrel project with no oversight. Why won't anyone speak up and hold the Port Accountable? Because the the union longshore members and other useless political appointees would have a fit. No, the bureacrats aren't all useless but I want a mayoral candidate that has the guts to make hard decisions, not back down on cutting 125 jobs which is happening seven years later than it should because Jannie Blackwell has a hissy fit about lack of respect or some future political objectives.

The city definitely employs w

The city definitely employs way too many people, and way too many of them aren't very effective at their jobs. I would definitely vote for a mayoral candidate who put this issue at the top of their list.

Job training

Regarding the issue of job training, plenty of Philadelphians get it, but then they move to where the jobs are (I.e. outside Philadelphia).

We already have something like 6 major universities fully or partially within the city to provide skilled labor to employers, it's a matter of keeping the students here after they graduate. I do agree that we need more programs to train people to do jobs that don't require a college degree, though.

This Thread is Dead

I strongly encourage all readers to read the collection of YPP best of posts I put together here. This thread continues to rehash the same points about the BPT that have been discussed in great detail many times in the past. The "best of" contains well-thought out posts from the past that adress many of these points.

I think the majority of our readers come here to think, learn and expand their minds. As such, none of us likes to hear the same points be made over and over. And, Dave, welcome to YPP, but you make some claims above with no corresponding evidence to support them. For instance, there is job training available in the city but how much of that training helps to create and sustain living wage jobs? Why are there too many city employees? How many are there exactly? Without providing this kind of evidence, your post comes off as rhetoric.

I think most people come here to avoid rhetoric. Further, there are many, many, many other things the city can do to improve wages and livability instead of or even including tax reform. Let's all remember that and not be diverted by the SAME ARGUMENT about taxes AGAIN.

Rather than continue this thread, if you have new ideas or evidence to offer, write a whole post about.

Magic All Around

Let's continue to belabor! Stan - a few things:

1) You and others have a difficult if not impossible time discerning the difference between national (usually Republicans) tax abolitionists and local tax competitiveness advocates - different people, different motivations.

2) I think you were a Council staffer when Councilman Nutter worked with Councilman Cohen on the implementation schedule for Councilman Cohen's low income wage tax reduction bill. Councilman Nutter supported this bill and also fought (unfortunately unsuccessfully) against the Mayor's plan to move implementation back even further then 2010. Why didn't you mention the Councilman's contribution? Do you like to "magically" omit elements of the Councilman's record that don't comport with the "corporate" image that you're trying to portray of him?

What we are really doing is

What we are really doing is criticizing a candidate on the first day of his campaign, based on his website, which lists a number of important issues. Perhaps that is a bit too early. But, we do have a very high tax burden. Honestly, I think lowering taxes without a real assessment of what it takes to run this city and a performance evaluation, is irresponsible. Almost as irresponsible as not talking about taxes.

When I talk about a performance evaluation, I am talking about a complete review of what is coming in, going out, jobs and procedures on making government more efficient. I am talking about creating a new city employee manual that details how things are to be done efficiently with strong measures to ensure that taxpayers are getting the most for their dollar. This is a common sense position. Citizens should see their tax dollars at work.

Once that is completed, then we will have a real sense of what we need in terms of taxes. With the remainder (assuming there is one) we could either give it back (lower taxes), invest in the future (infrastructure or education), or use it to attract new business and develop our waterfront for great recreational spaces like Chicago (I mention it because it was discussed at the development meeting last night).

Thank you very much. I hap

Thank you very much.

I happen to agree with Dan and Ray, taxes are not the be-all end-all of civic improvement. To improve the city, you have to improve the quality of life. Further, I think a performance review will show us where our waste is. Once we cut the waste (meaning inefficient procedures, over-compensation and dealings with private contractors), then we are doing right by our taxpayers.

Let's face it, no matter how many people we employ there will be waste. I do not advocate laying people off, however. While I do not think keeping jobs that are redundant is a good thing, I prefer phasing out positions through retirement.

Evaluating government and its costs should be a priority. For all the reasons I discussed earlier, this needs to happen before we think about cutting taxes.

As for the Port Authority, I had heard that. My view is that there are individuals who do not put the public trust in its proper place, first. Maybe I have a romantic notice of the public trust and public good, but of all non-violent crimes I think can be committed, a breach of public trust is worst. How else do we have accountability?

I like your posting and comme

I like your posting and commenting. It is much needed on this site. Dan and Ray have done a great job convincing me--as have some small business people--that taxes are not the end all and be all of our city's options to improve.

ThatswhatI'mtalkingabout.

But yeah, if anyone is really bored, they could look back at the beginning of our old site. I never really talked about the BPT one way or the other. But, I have become pretty convinced that this is not, nor has it been about small biz creation when 1) I was presented with little evidence that this will help small businesses, 2) there is a general refusal to tell us how much of the Cut will go to Comcast, Cigna, etc, and 3) anecdotal discussions with a number of small business owners who told me that the BPT just was not the big issue for them.

But, I do very much agree with you that we need to look inward, examine what works, and what does not; and additionally, what we want our government to do, and what we do not.

One quick example: Like homeowners, business owners have to pay all their taxs in one lump sum, at the end of the year. And, if they haven't budgeted right, they are screwed. And, the stupidest of the stupid, the only way you can make a payment plan when you can pay more often than yearly is if you actually fall behind. How is that for pro-active?

It would take about 20 bucks and hiring a 25 year old to set up a way for business to pay in every month, three months, whatever, and it would prevent a lot of businesses (or homeowners) from facing a huge end of the year crunch that they can't deal with. The City would likely collect more revenue, as less people look at the bill at simply don't pay, and more businesses and homeowners wont be screwed, and will survive.

I get the distinct impression

I get the distinct impression you're responding to somebody else's posts in the same post in which you respond to mine, but no matter.

How many people does the city employ? I don't know exactly because, unsurprisingly, that information isn't readily available on the internet. However, the city of Philadelphia, excluding the school district, is the 3rd largest employer in the state, trailing only Wal-Mart and the USPS. It also employs more people than the University of Pennsylvania (the 5th largest employer, after the School District of Philadelphia) which, in turn, employs just over 13,000 people

How many people do I think the city should employ? Fewer.

If it talks Republican, and walks Republican, and quacks Republi

Stan Shapiro

Alright, let's belabor.

1) Friedman, you're right as to who I am, which I've not been hiding. Who are you? What's your history in Philadelphia politics?

2) As a Council staffer I not only witnessed the passage of Councilman Cohen's legislation but also the dialogue on cutting the BPT. At the time the Republican members of Council acted as if they had died and gone to heaven. Several times they remarked on the wonderful conversion that had taken place among their Democratic colleagues, and one of the Democrats -- Councilman DiCicco I believe -- admitted that he was basically advocating Republican policies.

3) If one accepts the arguments for BPT cutting, one undermines completely the Democratic opposition to business tax cutting at both the state and federal levels. In both places Republicans argue that businesses will flee, or fold up completely, if taxes aren't cut back. In Pennsylvania we're told companies will flee to Mississippi or Mexico. At the federal level we're told essentially the same thing. These are essentially the same arguments Republicans make whenever and wherever they take office to justify paying back their corporate contributors. To support these policies locally is to dilute and destroy our ability to present a clear opposition message that building from the bottom up, not trickling down from the top, is a better way.

Let's be honest. Business, particularly big business, hates anything and everything that gets in the way of its bottom line. So in every jurisdiction, local, state and national, it will come up with clever packaging to show that just leaving them alone will benefit all of us. That means not just cutting taxes, but weakening labor protections, consumer protections, zoning regulations, and health mandates. The rationale for all of it is the same. There is always some jurisdiction somewhere that doesn't impose some obigation that business wants to get off its back and it will always threaten to go there.

On the other hand, while seeking to reduce "the dead hand of government" that interferes with its prerogatives, big business is only too happy to reap billions from those governments for itself. Witness all of its special tax preferences. Witness the billions for new stadia in Philly. Oh, yes, we needed those stadia because if we didn't shell out the Eagles and Phillies would find some poor schlubs who would do so elsewhere.

So whether it's to get us to leave them alone, or to get the handouts they want, they will sing the same song. Someone else will get us what we want, if you don't. So do what we want. We are the real government.

Once upon a time, Democrats said "bunk" to all of that. But now we're also a party oiled by big campaign contributions, so we have a more "nuanced" message. Some of us say, well, maybe we shouldn't give in to their blackmail at the state or federal levels, but things are really different at the local level. Well, I'm saying "bunk." We have to stand up to them in Philadelphia if we're going to in Washington, and we're going to have to build economic models in both places that don't have us racing to the bottom to avoid drowning now instead of later.

Finally, if you've gotten this far, why don't I laud Nutter on the Cohen tax cut? He did play a useful role on that. But his overall tax record overwhelms the contribution he made on that legislation. His own zeal was always directed toward cutting the business tax, but he went along with Cohen to facilitate his primary objective. And the squeeze on City revenues caused by the cuts that have already been made to the BPT and the City wage tax have been the basis for the delay of the Cohen tax cut, which . . it's very likely . . . will never actually come into existence. But, then who cares? Those poor working stiffs can always go into business for themselves. If not here, maybe in Mississippi.

# of City Employees @ Phila.Gov

You can access job #s from the City's 5-Year Financial Plan at Phila.Gov downloads.

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