Government Affairs

The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce understands our members are busy focusing on their businesses and may find it difficult to become engaged in public policy issues that can impact the regional business climate. That’s where our Government Affairs Committee comes in.

The GNPCC has established a non-partisan Government Affairs Committee that focuses on business issues in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.  The committee is tasked with tracking legislation, informing membership of potential changes or creation of new laws, and establishing dialogue with regional legislators. The Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors for their consideration.

The Committee monitors activities at the city, state and federal levels involving public policy that impacts the region’s economy. In addition, we have acted as a proactive community partner and created coalitions around issues all businesses care about, including tax reform, retail growth, transportation, infrastructure, education and workforce development.

By establishing dialogue among business owners and community leaders, the GNPCC has had an impact on the growth and connectivity of the region.  For more than 93 years, the GNPCC has brought together a diverse collection of businesses to create one strong voice in support of local industries and the regional economy.



Pew report looks at impact of Philadelphia’s business tax incentives

8/18/2016 – Philadelphia business tax rates are among the highest of any large city in the nation, and the tax structure is frequently cited as one reason for the city’s relatively weak job-creation record over the past several decades. A key element of that structure is the business income and receipts tax (BIRT), which taxes profits and revenue of businesses located in the city. Only 11 of the nation’s 30 largest cities impose levies on corporate profits or revenue, and only Philadelphia does so on both. Read more.

PA budget testimony to Governor’s leadership, new spirit of cooperation with legislators

By Mary Isenhour, Guest Opinion

7/18/2016 – Over the past 18 months, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has achieved significant progress to move Pennsylvania forward. Working with a Republican-dominated legislature, Governor Wolf has secured over a half-billion dollars in new money for schools along with a fair funding formula that will help school districts that need it the most. Read more.

Federal Reserve Bank: NE Phila Economic Forecast
Philly Fed’s Gary Wagner speaks at GNPCC luncheon

7/12/2016 – Dr. Gary A. Wagner, a regional economic advisor in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, spoke to a GNPCC luncheon audience at the Village of Cottage Green, 9001 Ashton Rd. He is responsible for conducting research on emerging regional economic issues and informing external audiences on national and regional economic conditions, monetary policy, and the role of the Federal Reserve in the economy. Read more.

Taylor’s bill allows tax increases on commercial properties,
offset by equal reductions in business and wage taxes

6/28/2016 – State Rep. John J. Taylor, a Philadelphia Republican, introduced HB 1871 June 22, which proposes to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Uniformity Clause as it pertains to the Philadelphia Real Estate Tax.

The bill as recommended by several business, labor and civic groups, would allow for higher taxes on commercial real estate in Philadelphia. Any increase in such taxes would require equal reductions in business and/or wage taxes. His co-sponsorship memo of March 3, 2016 is reprinted here.

Soda tax likely headed to court

6/21/2016 – By a vote of 13-4, Philadelphia City Council voted June 16 to approve a measure that would make Philadelphia the first major American city to impose a tax on soda.

The 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax covers both regular and diet sodas and as well drinks with added sugar, such as sports drinks, iced tea and lemonade.

The tax will be levied on distributors, who previously said all of the increases would be passed onto consumers.  For example, a 12-ounce can of soda would be increased by 18 cents.  A 2-liter bottle of soda would be an additional $1.  The cost of a 12-pack of soda would increase $2.16. Read more.

City Council appears poised to pass beverage tax

6/9/2016 – Philadelphia City Council appears poised this week to enact what could be groundbreaking legislation with national implications when it approves a 1.5-cents per ounce tax on thousands of beverages.

By a voice vote June 8, members approved the legislation after months of wrangling with opponents, including the beverage industry that spent millions of dollars fighting it.

The signature initiative of the Kenney Administration, it is expected to have the nine votes needed for passage at City Council’s weekly session Thursday. Read more.

Letter from the Governor
For cities, it’s not a level playing field
By Gov. Tom Wolf

Helping older cities address their challenges isn’t just a city challenge; it’s a Commonwealth challenge. That’s because the challenges older cities face are challenges for all Pennsylvanians. All of us need our cities to succeed and flourish.

Let me start with a little background. Up until a few years ago when I entered a career in politics, I was a business owner in York, Pa. As a business owner in York, I had a big interest in seeing York succeed. I was involved in a number of York-centered civic organization.  Read More.


Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee Blog

By E. Pluribus Unum

Bombshell Part I—A federal court decision May 11 could end the long-standing sacrosanct custom of giving Philadelphia City Council members complete control over land use in their districts.

Folks, if this holds up in appeals court, this is big!

Known as “councilmanic prerogative,” or “councilmanic privilege,” it has always allowed a district council member to have a firm grip on his or her district, likening it to mayor of their own fiefdom.  Read More.


A statement from the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal to seek a three cents per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks presents a dilemma. There is a persuasive argument against the tax made by beverage makers, their employees, the drivers who deliver their products and the store owners who sell them. Conversely, because the money generated will address longstanding problems in education, infrastructure and the city’s pension gap, it is tempting to be in favor of it.

However, the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce must ultimately reflect the views of its membership on public policy, and with regards to this issue, it was relatively easy to find consensus.  Read More.