Sunday, April 19, 2015

City considers changing awful name "business-privilege tax"

The term “business-privilege tax” is just asking to be hated.

City considers changing awful name "business-privilege tax"

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The term “business-privilege tax” is just asking to be hated.

It’s bad enough that the tax itself has a reputation for scaring off small businesses. But must its name suggest that doing business here is a “privilege,” rather than a service?

The city, it seems, is finally catching on to how bad the name is. On behalf of the Nutter administration, Councilwoman Marian Tasco has introduced a bill that would re-brand the business-privilege tax. It would change its name to the “business income and receipts tax,” and also change the term “business-privilege license” to the “commercial activity license.”

It’s definitely not the most vital bill in the world, but it is a small, symbolic change that corrects a bad decision.

The bill, which is on tomorrow’s City Council committee agenda, follows a number of major business-tax reforms that Council passed this year.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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