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February 23, 2017

City Council looking to clean up archaic regulations to boost Philly businesses

Politics Business
Carroll - City Hall and Benjamin Franklin Parkway Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Philadelphia City Hall from the Parkway.

Two Philadelphia councilmembers are attempting to take some of the burden off local businesses by removing confusing regulations from the city code.

Council President Darrell Clarke (5th District) and Councilman Derek Green (At Large) introduced legislation Thursday that would appoint a board to find archaic restrictions putting needless strain on the city's economy. If enacted, the Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform would comb through the city's 2,016-page code to recommend actions to make businesses run more efficiency.

Clarke alluded to the city's business community that has issued complaints about the "counterproductive" regulatory environment as motivation to submit the bill.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Philadelphia’s economy,” Clarke said. “We owe them clarity and efficiency in government. The time is right to take stock of our regulatory environment and to determine what works, what should be eliminated, and what should be improved and expanded.

Green, a former small business owner, praised Clarke for spearheading the effort.

“Considering the level of poverty in our city, I am a strong supporter of entrepreneurship as a way to address this issue," Green said.

Some codes date back to 1951 while the most recent adjustments, like the crackdown on predatory towing operators, were added last month.

Another recent ordinance elicited sharp criticism from the business community.

In January, Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law a measure that prevents employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Rob Wonderling, president and CEO of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, maintained that the law hurts job growth and would fail to improve wage equity.

Currently, the city lacks a formal policy to review regulations to ensure clarity for residents and businesses.