Chamber of Commerce Questions Green-Sanchez BPT Proposal

Looks like the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce isn’t ready to support a Council proposal to restructure the business privilege tax just yet.

Last week, the chamber sent a detailed list of questions to Council members Bill Green and Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who have introduced legislation that would shift the way business taxes are levied by the city. PhillyClout obtained a copy of the letter this week.

The city's business-privilege tax has two parts - a gross-receipts portion, which taxes firms on their sales, and a net-income portion, which taxes profits. Green and Quinones-Sanchez are proposing a five-year phase-out of the tax on profits in favor of a higher gross-receipts tax. They argue that this would remove the disincentive for businesses to locate in Philly, and would spread tax burden more fairly.

But the Chamber wants to know how the proposal would impact industries like retail, hospitality and construction. They ask how the changes will affect city revenues and question how such tax models have played out in other regions.

“The Chamber continues to have many questions about specifics, including a more complete understanding of “winners” and “losers” in your proposed legislation, that will need to be answered before the GPCC can take a final stand on the bill,” says the letter from Chamber President and CEO Rob Wonderling.

Green said he would keep talking with the Chamber. He also said he and Sanchez would soon put up a website with data on the proposal and a calculator tool for businesses to work out the impact.

“We’ve given the chamber the information they’re going to receive from us. We’re happy to continue a dialogue with them," Green said.

Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Analytics, wrote an op-ed in the Sunday Inquirer offering support for the Green-Sanchez proposal.