September 22, 2011
NAP begins a new chapter in its 18 year existence with the launch of ‘NAP Blog’. We hope to enlighten you about the Newsstand Association, its members and its positions on the many issues affecting us throughout the year. There are so many issues that we can discuss, from flash mobs to late night newsstand break-ins to our Holiday party in December. We wanted to choose for our first topic an issue that everyone in some way is affected when living in Philadelphia.
We chose for our initial Blog dialogue the dreaded Business Privilege Tax, a tax that affects all able bodied workers in the city. The name, Business Privilege over the years has evoked contempt and the tax itself has provoked contentious arguments.
The Newsstand Association of Philadelphia’s Steering Committee believes that we must reduce and eventually eliminate the Business Privilege Tax.
Let us be clear: If businesses do not occupy the buildings near or in front of our newsstands, there will be no foot traffic and without foot traffic our ability to conduct business will become nonexistent. We need more businesses relocating to Philadelphia. We need to attract new business to Philadelphia by gradually lowering and eventually eliminating this onerous tax. It is unconscionable for Philadelphia to tax both receipts and income.
In February 2005, 100 supporters of bill 040767 made the case to City Council that high taxes hold Philadelphia back and that tax reform can move Philadelphia forward. People from various businesses spoke of job lost and the high cost of doing business in the city. Speaker after speaker adamantly spoke out against the Business Privilege Tax and called for the adoption of bill 040767. That bill to gradually eliminate the BPT passed but was vetoed. Later legislation created a schedule to slowly reduce the BPT but after the economic downturn, the cuts were suspended. The Mayor says they will return in 2014.
NAP advocates a bill similar to 040767 to become law before 2014. How we get to that point depends on all of us coalescing together in one common goal to slowly reduce and eventually eliminate without reservation or hesitation this onerous tax.
As newsstand owners we must understand that because of this high tax on both receipts and income, businesses are leaving the city at an alarming rate. If this continues unabated, the foot traffic that we so vitally need to conduct business will slowly evaporate and our receipts and income will slowly disintegrate.
We suggest that we begin to show our solidarity and support by displaying a sign in our windows that express how we feel about this vital issue. NAP Steering Committee will forward a letter and send it to all city council members expressing support to eliminate the Business Privilege Tax. We urge everyone reading this Blog to respond with your suggestions how we might ignite our collective political activism and eliminate this tax.