City Council must advance policies, develop relationships, and establish standards that foster a growing and inclusive economy. Our future will be determined by our ability to remain competitive regionally and globally without leaving people behind. As such, constant attention is required to produce well-paying, quality jobs for our current and future residents that produce adequate funding – through taxes - for our shared spending priorities.
Based on labor, taxes, and facilities, the cost of doing business in other comparable (East Coast) cities averages 33% more than in Philadelphia. Our overall cost of living, including housing, transportation, and healthcare is an average of 54% lower than our peer cities. We’ve had eight straight years of job growth. Our economy is growing, but it is doing so very slowly; from 2009-2018 private-sector jobs in Philadelphia grew slower than the national average and below the average of the 26 largest US cities. Philadelphia’s tax and regulatory structure must strike a better balance to unleash our City’s economic potential, enhance our competitiveness with peer cities and the Philadelphia suburbs while facilitating equity.
We must provide existing businesses with warm hospitality and present a welcoming attitude to companies that we want to attract from the suburbs and beyond. Finally, because new businesses account for nearly all net new job creation, we need to support entrepreneurs and startups.
Cultivate our Startup Community: The best way to support job growth and working persons in Philadelphia is to support startup businesses in the City. Philadelphia leaders can support the startup community by reducing barriers to entry, building more flexibility into the City’s regulatory regime for small and growing businesses, and expanding business support services.
Support Hometown Businesses: We need to build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with hometown companies - those with their headquarters in Philadelphia or the region. These companies anchor our local economy through the generation of taxes, jobs, wealth, and intellectual capital. As a City, we need to create more alignment between our aspirations for prosperity and our relationships with these existing companies in order to improve job and wealth creation outcomes.
Expand Existing Services: Let’s provide a higher level of customer service to our City’s business community and create a reputation regionally and around the world as a City that is open and welcoming to business. To improve our brand in this regard, I would like to meld and build on two existing programs - the Commerce Department’s Business Services Team and Philly311. I would like to see businesses - those already here or thinking of coming - be able to leverage 311’s online knowledgebase, call center, and other networks for their purposes. We can use information gathered from these programs to bring focus on areas of opportunity for streamlining services and processes.
Build a Resilient and Stable Economic Foundation: In order to weather future economic storms, Philadelphia must build a growing, diverse, inclusive and resilient economy. We must align taxes, regulations, and incentives to cultivate the right type of job and wage growth. Philadelphia urgently needs a comprehensive review of our city’s tax code (including tax incentives), regulatory framework, and fees-for-service in the context of our budgetary needs and job/wage growth aspirations. Acknowledging that it would require a change to the Commonwealth’s Constitution, I am supportive of the “Levy/Sweeney Plan” floated several years ago that would shift tax burdens toward commercial real estate and away from wage and business taxes. This approach would be consistent with that of our peer cities, most of whom are growing their economies more quickly than Philadelphia.
Prior to deciding to run for City Council, Eryn worked for Public Financial Management (PFM), where she worked with cities including Reading, PA, and Baltimore, MD, to develop city budgets and economic plans that worked. In her tenure as Deputy Managing Director of Philadelphia, she worked to make City government more efficient, saving the City $21 million. Her experience is unmatched by any other candidate - she has a vision to make Philadelphia thrive and has the background and knowledge to implement make her vision a reality for Philadelphia.