Skip to main content

Philly tax reform is dead, long live Philly tax reform

A bill to turn the city's business-tax structure on its head is dead for now, as its Council sponsors agreed Tuesday to instead work with the Nutter administration in the hope of preserving at least some of their ideas.

A critical Council committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed indefinitely, and Mayor Nutter has scheduled an afternoon news conference instead.

In a letter to City Council members Bill Green and Maria Quiñones Sánchez Tuesday, Nutter's chief of staff, Clay Armbrister, outlined the areas of agreement that the two camps would collaborate on.

Those include finding a way to exempt the first $100,000 of a company's sales from taxes and close loopholes that allow national corporations and out-of-town companies to avoid paying city business privilege taxes even as they do business in Philadelphia.

I think Council members Bill Green and Maria Quiñones Sanchez are right to pursue an overhall of the city's business tax system. But since this effort appears to have hit a temporary dead-end, they might want to take aim at the other part of Philadelphia culture that new- and small-businesses find so discouraging: the regulatory thicket.

I think good regulations are good for a community and its businesses, protecting consumers and leveling a playing field so that conscientious merchants aren't at a disadvantage against less-scrupulous rivals. I'm not sure that's what we have in Philadelphia right now. Does anybody talk about L&I in glowing terms? I haven't heard it. But I have seen business startups delayed by months as entrepreneurs navigated the regulatory bureaucracy with often-frustrating results. Some smart council person could probably advance their career -- and do Philadelphia a lot of good -- by advancing the cause of regulatory reform in this town.


Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…