Philadelphia has experienced nearly a decade of population and job growth. Our city’s economy is the strongest it has been in decades. To continue this success and to ensure that the benefits of growth extend to all Philadelphians, the City of Philadelphia continually works to address challenges faced by local businesses. 

That’s why, in 2017, Philadelphia City Council announced a Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform. The Committee engaged leaders in the business community, City Councilmembers, City departments, and members of the public to find ways to improve Philadelphia’s business landscape. For over a year, the Committee worked to find ways to streamline regulations, cut down on red tape, and help businesses thrive. Since then, the City has been implementing the Committee’s recommendations.

Legislative accomplishments of the Special Committee

Thanks to the Committee, City Council has passed 16 bills to repeal outdated parts of the Philadelphia Code. Several new ordinances were also introduced to improve the business landscape, including:

  • A bill that allows first-year businesses to pay their second year Business Income and Receipts (BIRT) liability quarterly rather than paying two annual payments, which was burdensome.
  • A bill that created by-right signage sizes for commercial mixed-use storefronts, which allows for an easier approval process.

Support for other projects, including Business Owners’ Bill of Rights

In addition to legislative actions, the Committee has spurred other important projects. Many of these were initiatives included in “Growing with Equity,” the City’s plan for inclusive growth. Examples of these projects are:

  • A new City-wide approach to enhancing customer service, starting with the creation of a Business Owners’ Bill of Rights, which outlines the rights entitled to business owners when interacting with City agencies. The City will also implement process improvements, improve taxpayer technology, redesign in-person services, and establish a Business Acceleration Team.
  • A City-wide customer relationship management process and the use of a (CRM) tool to improve the way businesses are served by City agencies. 
  • A strategy to support entrepreneurs of color, women and immigrants by aligning existing resources and filling gaps.
  • A cluster-based growth strategy based on Philadelphia’s unique strengths that will bring jobs and economic opportunities for all Philadelphians.
  • Making the process of imposing new regulations on businesses more transparent and accessible.

The City will continue to partner with the private sector to implement meaningful changes that drive inclusive growth. 

Learn more about the City’s vision for inclusive growth. 

Read the Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform’s progress report.