Some good news and a warning from Center City District
Philadelphia Business Journal by Natalie Kostelni, Reporter
Date: Monday, April 30, 2012, 1:17pm EDT
Center City District has released its annual State of Center City Report. It included a lot of good news about Philadelphia.
Here are some numbers from the report:
• Center City has 214,484 private-sector jobs paying $12.1 billion in salaries;
• Downtown accounts for 39.6 percent of all private-sector jobs in the city and 43.5 percent of all salaries;
• 7,000 individuals in Center City who are compensated as partners earned $1.1 billion;
• Partners in the city’s 153 law firms earned $771.7 million (If you’re a lawyer or other type of partner housed in Cira Centre, that’s a lot of tax-free money.);
• The sale price of a Center City house has increased by an average of 21.7 percent over the last 15 years;
• The average daily rate of a Center City hotel increased by 9.7 percent in 2011, which is more than any other major Northeast city;
• The number of Center City fine-dining restaurants increased by 322 percent since 1992 and the number of outdoor cafés total 273;
• Since 2007, $12 billion in development has occurred between Center City and University City; and
• The population of downtown has increased by 16.3 percent in the last decade.
While a lot of the data point to positive trends for Philadelphia, taxes still drag down the city, especially when it comes to retaining and growing jobs, said Paul Levy, president and CEO of Center City District.
“We are dramatically losing office market share,” Levy said. “Office jobs are a weakness in our economy.”
Taxes matter in the region, Levy said, and if the city doesn’t restart a concerted effort to eliminate the business privilege tax and reduce the wage tax then the city will continue to see jobs funnel out.
“Clearly, we tax the wrong thing,” he said, noting that “growth is happening but it’s not happening here.”