Philadelphia’s agenda for economic growth
In less than three months, Philadelphia voters will go to the polls on May 19 to nominate Democratic and Republican candidates for Mayor of Philadelphia. Since 1947, voters have elected a Democrat to lead this great city, so that party’s primary in particular looms large.
Across the board, Philadelphia is experiencing growth: from the largest percentage of millennial population of any major city in America, to the billions of dollars in new construction and development projects in and around Center City.
The 4,000 member companies of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce believe it is paramount that the next Mayor focuses on continuing our momentum in creating jobs, boosting our population and economic growth to keep Philadelphia competitive with other cities around the nation and the world. We believe now is the time for the Mayoral candidates to share their plans to create jobs and spur more economic growth for Philadelphia.
Starting last year, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce spearheaded an important campaign to have a dialogue about growth, job creation, and the election for Mayor of Philadelphia. It’s called Roadmap for Growth for the City of Philadelphia. The purpose of the Roadmap for Growth campaign is to build upon the leadership successes of Mayor Nutter and City Council to capture new ideas from public and private sector thought leaders that can inform the candidates.
Over the last four months, our Roadmap for Growth campaign has accomplished the following:
- Conducted 11 Listening Tour meetings with Council members in city neighborhoods
- Held 2 Issue Forums on workforce development and the city’s competitiveness with experts and four candidates for mayor
- Created partnerships with nearly 70 civic, neighborhood and business organizations
- Launched a website, RoadmapForGrowth.com, with thousands of followers
As a key next step in our Roadmap initiative, we are requesting the candidates for Mayor to respond to a series of five questions that ask how they plan as Mayor to encourage growth, create jobs, run government more efficiently, and address the city’s workforce development challenges. The goal is to educate the Philadelphia business community, voters and other stakeholders within Philadelphia about the candidates’ growth agenda for the city.
Here are the questions we asked the candidates:
- How many net new jobs will you create in your first term? How will you work with the business community to create them?
- How would you assist sole proprietors to grow into small enterprises and increase employment? Please provide a specific example of how you would do so.
- Specifically, how would you create efficiencies in Philadelphia’s operating budget and reform the cost structure of municipal government?
- How do you view the mayor’s role in creating a well-educated workforce? How do you specifically plan to carry out that vision?
- How do you view Philadelphia’s competitive standing compared to other cities with regard to taxes, regulations and job creation? How would you improve our city’s competitiveness as Mayor?
In March, we will publish and promote the candidates’ responses to our membership of several thousand Philadelphia businesses, to Philadelphia residents, and on our website and social media.
We encourage you to visit RoadmapForGrowth.com and share the candidates’ responses with your colleagues. If we work together to identify opportunities for economic growth and job creation for the next Mayor and City Council, we will have a true Roadmap for Growth for Philadelphia in 2016 and beyond.
Rob Wonderling is President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at [email protected].