"If you tax something that can move, it probably will," said Paul Levy, executive director of the Center City District. "We need to move to a greater dependency on the real-estate tax."
Levy said that contrary to what may be "accepted wisdom" about jobs in the neighborhoods, about 87 percent of working residents in Council districts outside of central employment areas do not work in their communities.
"The scariest thing is the number of people who live in the city, but work outside of the city," said City Councilman Bill Green, who, along with Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, sponsored legislation that significantly changes the business-tax structure.
Green said that the city has to eliminate its net-income tax because it's "causing businesses not to come to the city."
Jobs in educational and medical fields are stable employers, according to the report, and Philadelphia is weakest when it comes to professional, business and financial services, as well as start-ups and entrepreneurs.
"We are looking at our mix of taxes, as well as continuing to improve tax collection, specifically from property taxes," said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald. The city is working to improve its "ability to attract and retain businesses and jobs."
The report urges improvements to public education, community college and job-training systems, support for infrastructure and a more favorable environment for job creation by changing what is taxed.
If not, Levy said, the city could lose as many as 75,000 jobs by 2021.
Contact Jan Ransom at email@example.com or 215-854-5218. Follow her on Twitter @Jan_Ransom. Read her blog at PhillyClout.com.