Voices | Feb. 4-11

Reactions, rants and other random musings from you, our readers.

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Image: Tom Stiglich

The Shout out

Recently, the city has come under fire for its handling of both last year’s protests and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Your turn:

Given all that has transpired over the last year or so, is it time for Mayor Jim Kenney to resign?

Send your thoughts to voices@philadelphiaweekly.com.

Mannes doing good work

I want to commend A. Benjamin Mannes for his excellent article detailing the struggles of our local restaurants and especially for highlighting the disgraceful way Dennis Fink was treated by a corrupt, incompetent health inspector. Also, his op-ed on Krasner and Philly’s soaring murder numbers was a real eye-opener. Keep up the good work, PW! 

Donovan Farr | Tacony

Wolf’s proposals are bad for business

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding Gov. Wolf’s announced priorities for the 2021-22 legislative session – which include enacting an additional tax on the energy industry and a government mandated wage increase:

There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for Pennsylvania’s employers and workforce. While the PA Chamber appreciates Gov. Wolf’s focus on helping Pennsylvania overcome the pandemic era, we do not agree that policies that will increase employer tax burdens and the cost of doing business in the Commonwealth are the best means to achieve this goal. In fact, these proposals will only serve to slow our economic recovery.  

As we approach the one-year mark of the virus’s first appearance in the Commonwealth, businesses across a wide range of industries continue to struggle. The pandemic has highlighted the critical role the state’s energy supply and infrastructure has on our economy, as an emphasis on teleworking continues. Pennsylvania’s prolific natural gas reserves have helped to keep energy costs low throughout the state, and oil and gas are vital feedstocks to manufacturing sanitizer, PPE, medical equipment, and shipping the vaccine – and, most notably, one of the ingredients in the coronavirus vaccines used to deliver the molecule into the body is derived from petrochemicals.  Higher energy taxes puts one of the Commonwealth’s greatest competitive advantages at risk.   

We are also concerned about other proposals highlighted by the governor that would negatively impact the state’s business climate. Linking a much-needed reduction in the state’s Corporate Net Income Tax – which is one of the nation’s highest – to the implementation of mandatory unitary combined reporting is not the way to move Pennsylvania forward. This complex, overly broad tax reporting system will lead to increased costs putting Pennsylvania job creators at a greater competitive disadvantage. Rather, we encourage lawmakers to enact substantial state tax reforms that are based on the principles of competitiveness, fairness, predictability and simplicity.

Additionally, the administration’s aggressive proposal to more than double the state’s minimum wage to $15 will increase labor costs and lead to further job loss. As many of our members can attest – especially the small business community – government wage mandates threaten the vitality of businesses and job growth, and this is especially true as they continue to struggle in the pandemic landscape. A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that a $15 minimum wage could lead to as many as 3.7 million lost jobs. Rather than continuing the push for misguided minimum wage hikes, lawmakers should pursue policies that target support to low-income earners without risking jobs. 

As we collectively aim to jumpstart our economy and rebuild the Commonwealth’s workforce, it is counterintuitive to place additional burdens and hardships on the same people we’re relying on to drive our economic recovery forward. In addition to looking at possible funding support, there needs to be a focus on policies that don’t come with a monetary cost but would provide significant relief to job creators – such as much-needed targeted liability protections, which would help a multitude of industries, including small businesses, nonprofits, childcare providers, as well as the education and medical communities. While this effort was opposed by legislative Democrats and vetoed by Gov. Wolf last session, we are hopeful these much-needed protections will be enacted in the near future.

The buzz on social

Comments are flying on PW’s social media channels. Below is just a sample. Join in the discussion by following us on Instagram or Twitter: @PhillyWeekly.

PW’s story on local GOP Chair Martina White

“Really? She signed that atrocious letter in which the PA GOP urged our Congressional reps to object to the electoral votes from this state and disenfranchise millions of voters, and in your interview she flatly refuses to say that Donald Trump, who openly and on the record advocated for supporters to storm the capital, is guilty of a crime. Seems like she’s all about games that support her ambitions.” – jphistory

PW’s story on the local restaurant scene

Order regularly, tip heavily. Philly will build back strong. – xerohr

PW’s recent “Our Flag Unfurled” photo share

THIS IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT! SOVEREIGNTY OF AMERICA! – peachrose12