Butkovitz Expands on Jobs Idea

Expanding on a proposal he teased earlier this week in his inauguration speech, City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report Thursday that describes how the city’s education and medical sector can buy more services locally, creating as many as 4,400 new jobs.

The report was a survey of the spending of the city’s 18 universities and colleges and 16 hospitals – so-called “anchor” institutions, tied to the city with large campuses and building complexes.

Together, Butkovitz said, these institutions spend $5.3 billion on goods and services, about $2.7 million of which goes to Philadelphia-based companies.

He said he would like to work with the institutions to identify areas where they could shift another 25 percent of their spending to local businesses. He said the program would be voluntary, not a government mandate.

“The local government’s role would be to coordinate and build relationships, to assist with financing enterprises and to create incentives for firms to locate here to meet the anchor demand,” Butkovitz said.

He said the study released Thursday was a “macro” look at the anchor institutions’ spending, and that more work needs to be done to identify goods and services that potentially could be delivered by local companies.

Butkovitz said his office already has met with officials at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, who have “expressed a great deal of interest in the concept.”

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