Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

1-2-3-4, what should the chamber fight for?

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is surveying more than 25,000 people to see how it should change its advocacy efforts.

1-2-3-4, what should the chamber fight for?

If you work for a business or other organization in the region’s private sector, there’s a good chance that you’d like something to change.

Maybe it involves how you get to work. Maybe it’s about how much you pay in taxes or the type of taxes you pay.

Well, now’s your chance to tell the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce about the issues you think it should be fighting for.

New president Rob Wonderling this week unveiled the chamber’s new advocacy campaign, called Relay, by starting with a survey of more than 25,000 people in Center City’s office towers, suburban office parks and home offices everywhere.

Sent by an e-mail blast, the survey is also available on the chamber’s Web site here.

For the next month, Wonderling and his staff will be in listen-mode. The intent is to cast a wide net to catch the opinions of not only the 5,000 members of the Greater Philadelphia chamber, but also non-members, the self-employed, even those in the entrepreneurial tidal pools.

But data-gathering is almost the easy part. The challenge will be to distill what they learn into an action plan. Wonderling promises a more sustained, grassroots approach to how the chamber advocates its positions on various issues.

I’d have to say the chamber has been strikingly unmemorable in taking a stand on issues, such as tax policy, that entrepreneurs wind up calling newspaper reporters about.

With the tattered shape of all government budgets, no one expects tax cuts now. (But maybe some targeted job-creation tax credits?)

In his remarks at the chamber’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Comcast Corp. executive vice president David L. Cohen noted that he was proud of the “public advocacy maturity” of the business community for supporting Mayor Nutter’s measures to close the city’s budget hole by halting cuts in the wage and business privilege taxes.

What if the survey respondents reject that maturity, as Cohen, who is the chamber’s chair, called it? What if there’s as much anger over the budget woes in the C-level suites as in the rank-and-file cubicles?

You have one month to let the chamber’s leaders know how they should respond on all sorts of issues.

So tell them.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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