Job creation on the campaign radar screen

Nancy Anderson
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Some months back, I wrote a post on this blog about how the city needed to make it easy for new small businesses to get off the ground and grow in order to create more good jobs in Philadelphia.

Thus I am happy to report that, with the May 17 city primary just around the corner, several City Council candidates from both parties have made job creation a key plank in their campaign platforms.

Two of them, Democrat Andy Toy and Republican David Oh, are seeking their respective parties' nominations for at-large Council seats. In the last Council election, Oh nearly won an at-large seat, buoyed by Democratic crossover votes, and with Jack Kelly retiring, has a good shot at one of the two at-large seats reserved for the minority party. While Toy faces a harder fight, since all five Democratic incumbents are running for re-election, voter dissatisfaction with elected officials continuing to serve after claiming DROP early retirement payments may create an opportunity for Toy to grab a nomination.

A third, Jeff Hornstein, is running in a four-way race for the Democratic nomination for the First District Council seat being vacated by Frank DiCicco. As no Republican is seeking this seat, the winner of the primary will represent the district that includes eastern South Philly, eastern Center City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Port Richmond and most of the Delaware waterfront come next January.

Toy has spent his entire career focusing on economic development, both in City Hall and in the nonprofit sector. Hornstein had his consciousness raised on the issue when one of the janitors in the union where he worked as an organizer complained that children couldn't find jobs, among other issues, and asked what the union could do about that. Oh, himself a small businessman once with a one-man law practice, has made encouraging entrepreneurship in Philadelphia a centerpiece of all three campaigns he has run for Council. Hornstein, the only one of the three who has taken to the airwaves with ads on cable TV, has punched hard on the issue in his ad, which criticizes what he calls "the laziest economic development strategy of any city I'm familiar with."

All three agree on one major point: The city's business tax structure needs major reform. Hornstein has called for elimination of the city's net profits tax, and the other two say that business taxes need to be reduced to encourage new businesses. Oh and Toy have also made streamlining the city's licensing, permitting, and other regulatory processes to make them less of an obstacle to business formation, and Toy is also calling for increased access to capital for startup businesses, especially in minority communities. Hornstein wants to make it easier for the city to put vacant land back in the hands of people who will develop it as well.

While their philosophies and emphases may differ, it is encouraging to see three very viable Council candidates stressing the need to make Philadelphia more hospitable to new and small businesses. If all three manage to make it onto Council come November, we may stand a chance of seeing real progress on this issue at long last.

Whether your career is a startup or a mature enterprise, you should invest in it by looking for career growth opportunities on

By Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is a veteran freelance writer, editor and public relations professional who lives in Philadelphia. Besides blogging for, he has written for numerous publications and websites, would be happy to do your resume, and is himself actively seeking career opportunities on Nexxt. Check out his LinkedIn profile and read his other posts on

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