Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Props to Council for using data for business tax policy

No matter what you think about last week’s proposed business tax reforms, you have to give it to the Council members Green, Sánchez and Kenney for using data to drive their policies. It’s modern and intelligent, and more local officials should take cue. Yesterday, we highlighted one data set that’s behind the two bills that would relieve the business-privilege tax burden for small businesses, as well as eliminate many fees that new businesses have to pay just to get off the ground. We made a right-to-know request for another: the revenue department’s analysis of how much Philly-based businesses pay in business-privilege taxes as compared to out-of-towners, industry by industry. Here are a few nuggets we noticed: The Sánchez-Green bill would exempt businesses from paying business-privilege taxes on their first $100,000 in sales. How many businesses earn a total of $100,000 or less in sales? According to the revenue department’s data (which is from 2008), nearly 55,000. Holy cow! Under the new proposal, that means about 55,000 of 90,000 businesses that currently pay the tax would pay $0 in business-privilege taxes once the bill is fully in effect. Most businesses that pay the business-privilege tax are small, making less than $1 million a year in sales. Philly-based businesses pay the majority of the business-privilege tax, but businesses with a “Philadelphia presence” — those that have some employees or property here — also share a significant chunk of the burden. Especially bigger businesses with a “Philly presence.” The three local industries that pay the most in business-privilege taxes are legal services, real estate, and health and social services. For more, check out the data yourself below, and email us at itsourmoney (at) phillynews.com if you find anything worth noting.

Props to Council for using data for business tax policy

No matter what you think about last week’s proposed business tax reforms, you have to give it to the Council members Green, Sánchez and Kenney for using data to drive their policies. It’s modern and intelligent, and more local officials should take cue.
Yesterday, we highlighted one data set that’s behind the two bills that would relieve the business-privilege tax burden for small businesses, as well as eliminate many fees that new businesses have to pay just to get off the ground. 
We made a right-to-know request for another: the revenue department’s analysis of how much Philly-based businesses pay in business-privilege taxes as compared to out-of-towners, industry by industry. 
Here are a few nuggets we noticed:
The Sánchez-Green bill would exempt businesses from paying business-privilege taxes on their first $100,000 in sales. How many businesses earn a total of $100,000 or less in sales? According to the revenue department’s data (which is from 2008), nearly 55,000. Holy cow! Under the new proposal, that means about 55,000 of 90,000 businesses that currently pay the tax would pay $0 in business-privilege taxes once the bill is fully in effect.
Most businesses that pay the business-privilege tax are small, making less than $1 million a year in sales.
Philly-based businesses pay the majority of the business-privilege tax, but businesses with a “Philadelphia presence” — those that have some employees or property here — also share a significant chunk of the burden. Especially bigger businesses with a “Philly presence.”
The three local industries that pay the most in business-privilege taxes are legal services, real estate, and health and social services.
For more, check out the data yourself below, and email us at itsourmoney (at) phillynews.com if you find anything worth noting.

No matter what you think about last week’s proposed business tax reforms, you have to give it to the Council members Bill Green, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Jim Kenney for using data to drive their policies. It’s modern and intelligent, and more local officials should take cue.

Yesterday, we highlighted one data set that backs up the two bills that would relieve the business-privilege tax burden for small businesses, as well as eliminate many fees that new businesses have to pay just to get off the ground. 

We made a right-to-know request for another: the revenue department’s analysis of how much Philly-based businesses pay in business-privilege taxes as compared to out-of-towners, industry by industry. 

Here are a few nuggets we noticed:

  • The Sánchez-Green bill would exempt businesses from paying business-privilege taxes on their first $100,000 in sales. How many businesses earn a total of $100,000 or less in sales? According to the revenue department’s data (which is from 2008), nearly 55,000. Holy cow! Under the new proposal, that means about 55,000 of 90,000 businesses that currently pay the tax would pay $0 in business-privilege taxes once the bill is fully in effect.
  • Most businesses that pay the business-privilege tax are small, making less than $1 million a year in sales.
  • Philly-based businesses pay the majority of the business-privilege tax, but businesses with a “Philadelphia presence” — those that have some employees or property here — also share a significant chunk of the burden. Especially bigger businesses with a “Philly presence.”
  • The three local industries that pay the most in business-privilege taxes are legal services, real estate, and health and social services.

For more, check out the data yourself below, and email us at itsourmoney (at) phillynews.com if you find anything worth noting.

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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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