Nutter pitches range of steps to help business

Posted: February 28, 2013

Mayor Nutter offered the business community Tuesday a mix of lower wage taxes, improved revenue collection, and help for start-ups as a prescription for continued recovery and growth in the city.

"A generation from now, I see Philadelphia with a reputation as a major hub of global entrepreneurial talent, a generator of new ideas from our world-class university, health sciences and technology sectors, and with a quality of life unmatched by most other cities in America," Nutter said in his annual speech to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

He acknowledged that the city must conquer difficult problems to achieve that vision, including reducing gun deaths and improving the struggling Philadelphia School District. Nutter said his administration would support a legislative package in Harrisburg asking for increased penalties for carrying unlicensed weapons in Philadelphia.

He also called for greater investment by the state in the city's school system, which has been hit hard by Gov. Corbett's budget cuts. Nutter said he would make the case that under new Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., the district is shoring up its budget - although a $1.3 billion gap remains over the next five years - and city schools are worth investing in.

Also Tuesday, Nutter released a report from FTI Consulting that said the city could generate $85 million in reduced costs and increased revenue over five years by implementing certain changes. FTI identified improving collection of city fees as one source of potential revenue.

Nutter said he would appoint a new chief collections officer position to oversee the effort. That person would report to the mayor and Finance Director Rob Dubow.

As announced, Nutter noted that the city would resume decreases in the wage tax starting July 1. Planned reductions were postponed when the recession hit.

The chamber members applauded, but as Nutter spoke at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, members of AFSCME District Council 33, which represents 11,000 nonuniformed city workers, most in blue-collar jobs, protested outside. They held signs that read "Mayor Nutter, It's Time for a Fair Contract."

The workers' last contract expired in June 2009.

Contact Miriam Hill at or 215-854-5520. Follow her on Twitter @miriamhill.

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