Council has full plate this fall

Posted: September 08, 2011

WHILE redistricting remains the hot topic as City Council returns from its legislative break today, its 17 members are expected to tackle some other big issues this fall.

Here are a few items on Council's plate as it kicks off the final session of its current term, otherwise known as the "lame-duck session."

Taxes/jobs: Two tax proposals are expected to be unveiled today in an effort to juice business development and job creation.

Council members Bill Green and Maria Quinones-Sanchez are proposing to exempt all businesses from paying taxes on their first $100,000 in both gross-receipts and net-income taxes. The duo, who launched an effort last year to radically change the city's business-tax structure, are also seeking to change tax law so that manufacturers would not be taxed on sales outside the city limits.

Councilman Jim Kenney also has a proposal that he says would spur job creation by providing an exemption for new businesses on the business-privilege tax, as well as a waiver on all business fees for the first two years of operation. To be eligible, the businesses would have to create 10 full-time jobs for city residents, although Kenney said the number is negotiable. He is also proposing to exempt all businesses from paying taxes on their first $100,000 in gross receipts.

DROP/sick leave: After Council broke for the spring, Mayor Nutter said that he would veto two controversial bills - an effort to preserve the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, while reducing costs, and legislation that would require Philadelphia employers to let workers earn paid sick days.

It is not clear if Council will try to override Nutter's vetoes. On sick leave, it may not have the necessary 12 votes, and members don't appear to have decided how to handle DROP.

If the sick-leave effort - sponsored by Councilmen Bill Greenlee and Darrell Clarke - dies, Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. is proposing legislation that would require the city, as well as many employers with city contracts, funding or leases, to provide earned paid sick days.

Zoning: Another pressing issue before Council is reforming the city's antiquated zoning code. Zoning Code Commission members will brief Council today about its ongoing effort to bring the city's code into the 21st century. Commission officials will discuss the process and possible revisions to the draft of the new code. The 1 p.m. meeting will be held in the Caucus Room at City Hall and is open to the public.

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