Nutter to Chamber: experiment with city biz taxes, retain tech firms - Technical.ly Philly

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Feb. 19, 2010 12:55 pm

Nutter to Chamber: experiment with city biz taxes, retain tech firms

Life sciences, engineering, computer system design firms and the video game industry were among the members of the region's creative economies whose fates were addressed during Mayor Michael Nutter's address to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce this week.

Comcast Exec. VP David Cohen, after introducing Mayor Michael Nutter. Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro

Life sciences, engineering, computer system design firms and the video game industry were among the members of the region’s creative economies whose fates were addressed during Mayor Michael Nutter’s address to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce this week.

Those mentions, in addition to the rest of his speech, focused on the economy, noting that job creation is a top priority of the coming year and outlining an experimentation with the city’s tax structure. He also warned of another tight budget and tough economic year.

“When I took office one of my top priorities was to transform the way that city government interacts with business, to encourage investment and development, rather than chase it away,” Nutter said. “Now, with many Philadelphians out of work and small businesses struggling to survive, creating jobs and encouraging investment is no longer one of my top priorities, it is my top priority.”

Below, listen to Nutter’s speech.

The glimpse of his March 4 budget address to city council suggested it wouldn’t be until 2012 at earliest that he would again begin lowering taxes in Philadelphia, as the Metro reported, but he unveiled intentions for experimentation in the city’s often criticized tax structure.

[audio:http://www.greaterphilachamber.com/media/rss/Mayor%20Nutter%27s%20Speech.mp3]

Nutter’s administration will try new policies devoted to retaining “research-and-development firms and the growing video-gaming software industry,” as the Inquirer first reported. The city’s Video Game Initiative has been pushing on legislators to attract the growing sector, as covered by Technically Philly.

Nutter discussed exploring limiting taxing IT companies on only services provided to clients within Philadelphia, keeping them competitive in other jurisdictions.

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Additionally, as the Philadelphia Business Journal highlighted, the mayor’s speech discussed how to keep healthy the city’s life sciences footprint:

Research-and-development firms in engineering and life sciences will have the net income portion of their business privilege tax payment based solely on sales. The current formula is based 50 percent on sales, 25 percent on payroll and 25 percent on property. Tax reform advocates argue that basing part of the tax on payroll and property encourages businesses to move both out of the city.

The mayor also highlighted an initiative to offer more business development tools and information sources online, focused here and elsewhere on the new and continuously developing “portal.” To the point of government transparency, Nutter pledged an online tracking method for the city’s Licenses and Inspections department.

Watch 6ABC’s coverage below.

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