"When you introduce a 1,000-plus-foot building anywhere in the city, it will obviously have an impact, but any potential challenges associated with the operational development, we'll be able to minimize that," Clarke said.
Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez told the Daily News that she is ready to invest time in implementing the land-bank bill, which the mayor signed into law last week.
It may take a year to develop, but when it comes to fruition, Mayor Nutter said, Philadelphia will be the largest U.S. city to have a streamlined procedure for disposition of blighted and abandoned land.
Sanchez said she is ready to move forward on a proposal that would reshape business taxes in Philadelphia by shifting the Business Income and Receipts Tax from a combination of net income and gross receipts to a gross-receipts-only tax structure. The bill was introduced by Councilman Bill Green, who recently was tapped by Gov. Corbett to head the School Reform Commission. Council is awaiting analysis on the measure's fiscal viability.
Clarke, however, was not so quick to back the legislation.
"Will it create a series of winners and losers, and will it shift from the existing tax structure?" he asked.
"What's the general benefit to the city of Philadelphia? I've said it's [like] shifting the chess pieces around on the board. It doesn't get us to where we want to be. Until we get an analysis on that bill, I can't say where I'll be on that proposal."
Also on deck is a package of bills that would revamp demolition and construction-site standards in the wake of June's deadly Market Street building collapse.
"One part of the process of the demo bills will call for additional resources for L&I, as part of our budget conversation that will be coming up shortly," Clarke said.
The measure, sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, would close loopholes that let unscrupulous contractors skirt existing labor laws by requiring them to carry city-issued IDs while on site.
Kenney said he also will introduce a bill today that would eliminate mandatory arrests for individuals carrying pocket-size amounts of pot.
"The D.A. has thoughtfully decided to divert people who are caught with a small amount of marijuana to a drug class and pay a fine," Kenney said.
"Why, then, should the police be required to arrest someone - leave their sectors to book that person - when the arrestee is going into a diversion program in the end? No trauma or injury while being arrested, no arrest record, no loss of police patrol hours and a huge financial savings for the city - a no-brainer."
Also possibly to be addressed this session: long-term public-school funding from the city and state; Blondell Reynolds Brown's school-property advertising bill; W. Wilson Goode Jr.'s push to alter the 10-year property-tax abatement program; and the possible sale of Philadelphia Gas Works.
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