Latin American small business owners push for city of Philadelphia tax reform

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“If those 20,000 businesses grew by just one or two employees, we could do more to help lift them out of poverty. It costs our community when our businesses don’t grow, ”she said. “It’s not Amazon or Facebook, it’s mostly small, old-fashioned businesses with fewer than 250 employees that are the job creators of the nation and our neighborhoods,” in construction, restaurants and grocery stores, said Jennifer Rodriguez, CEO of GPHCC, at a virtual event on Wednesday.

Among those surveyed, 49% of business owners said the heaviest is the city’s business income and revenue tax, or BIRT tax; 21% said the payroll tax and 15% said the net profit tax was the heaviest. More than two-thirds – or 68% – of those polled in their latest survey have five or fewer employees and 82% have sales of less than $ 1 million per year.

A new coalition of various Philadelphia chambers – African-American, African-American, independent business and Hispanic chambers – found that their member-owners of small businesses in the city wanted lower taxes.

Together, the chamber group lobbies the city council’s tax reform task force and “together we hope to have a deeper impact and give small businesses a bigger voice in the circles that matter,” Rodriguez said. .

Demographics indicate a growing influence among the city and state’s Latin American populations, said Michael Jones-Correa, chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s political science department.

In the United States, Latinos number 62 million nationally, or 18.7% of the total population, up from 35.3 million in 2000, he said, citing a Pew Research Center analysis of the data. census.

Just over a million Latinos live in Pennsylvania, and some growth has taken place along so-called “Latino Hallway 222” cities such as Allentown, Bethlehem, Harrisburg, and Lancaster.

Many are younger people, born in the United States, but not politically active; or a significant portion of the population who are undocumented and avoid speaking out in the business and political arena, he added.

But the greatest absolute population growth has been in Philadelphia and Collar counties, and “where we will see Latin American population growth in the future,” Jones-Correa said.

In Philadelphia, the northeast section of the city has the greatest concentration of Latinos: from Puerto Rico, who are citizens, other immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America.

“The Northeast and the Oxford Circle are increasingly diverse, as is South Philadelphia,” with growing populations of Latinos and Southeast Asians, he said. Philly’s non-Hispanic white populations have plummeted over the past decade, he said.

“The population is a young population. The real growth among Latinos in the United States is in our youth. Each year, there are approximately 800,000 and 900,000 young Latinos who are 18 years old. They become voters but it takes a long time for them to get into politics, ”Jones-Correa said.

In Philadelphia in particular, “a lot of the growth is among Puerto Ricans, who are citizens. They come to town and could register to vote here, but often they don’t. Island politics so far have not been entirely smooth, and we forget that we also need to educate these voters. “

The Hispanic chamber said it was working to support the reopening of Latino-owned businesses into the “new normal economy.”

“Working from home was not an option for 84% of Latinos,” said Rhett Buttle, founder of consultancy firm Public Private Strategies and senior researcher at the Aspen Institute.

Currently, “some very small Hispanic business owners are still not confident in their ability to access capital,” he said, citing data from 29% of respondents surveyed by the US Hispanic Chamber, with incomes of 2020 up to $ 250,000 per year.

According to the US Hispanic Chamber’s 2020 Annual Report, Latino business owners suffered from a lack of access to capital during and after the pandemic, with their PPP loans approved at 50% of the white owner rate.

That said, Buttle pointed out some optimism: a Bank of America survey recently found that 74% of Latin American business owners expect revenue to increase this year, a higher rate than business owners. Asian-American, Native, Black or White.

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