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Since its founding, Philadelphia has been known as a city of firsts. We have world-class arts and culture, universities, medical and research institutions, sports teams, companies, and restaurants. We enjoy an international airport and a regional public transit system that supports business and leisure travelers alike. In recent decades, our population started growing again, and new residents joined with life-long Philadelphians to build a city of the future. 


But right now, we are at a critical moment. Our city's economy has not fully recovered from the global pandemic. Office towers await the return of employees, and questions loom about what the future holds for Center City.  Tens of thousands of residents cannot find family-sustaining jobs and hundreds of thousands are trapped in multi-generational poverty.  In too many of our neighborhoods, residents call out for improved public services and safer streets as small retail owners–the backbones of our numerous commercial corridors–make decisions about whether to close shop. And too many Philadelphians–particularly Black residents–continue to be left out of a job and business ownership opportunities.  


Sadly, right now, when we need leadership the most, our city is rudderless.


As Mayor,  Rebecca will work hard every day to grow our economy and create new, good paying jobs, while making sure that our residents have the skills needed to get those jobs. Our city’s future prosperity must be shared and sustainable. This will mean working closely with business, community, nonprofit, and labor leaders to build an inclusive economy in which every Philadelphian will thrive. This will mean a government that provides basic services effectively and efficiently and doesn’t get in the way of our city’s instinctive drive to innovate and create.  Instead, Mayor Rhynhart will create the conditions needed to make companies want to start in Philadelphia and grow in Philadelphia. 

More specifically, a Rhynhart Administration will:


  • Work with business owners to identify and correct the bureaucratic red tape and missteps in city departments and our workforce system;

  • Evaluate our tax system so that it balances the desire for business growth against undue burdens on lower- and middle-income residents;

  • Create and strengthen efforts to encourage business starts and expansion among Black-owned companies; 

  • Work with the private sector and our education and training systems to make sure that all of our residents have the skills needed to fully participate in our economy;

  • Invest in and strengthen commercial corridors. 



To reduce red tape and support economic growth, Rebecca will appoint a senior official to oversee an effort solely focused on identifying and reducing the interdepartmental issues that prevent many small businesses from getting started and growing. Informed by businesses large and small from all sectors of the economy, the new team will coordinate the Revenue, Licensing and Inspections, Water, Streets and Health Departments, and other city agencies to streamline permitting and inspections. This stronger coordination will ensure new businesses can open and existing businesses can still serve their clients and customers.  This team will also identify key stumbling blocks and utilize best practices learned from other municipalities to make long-overdue structural changes to the city department processes that hold back our economy.



Rebecca has spent a lot of her life as a public servant meeting with small and emerging business owners. They told her loud and clear that our tax structure needs fundamental change. 

Currently, Philadelphia is one of four municipalities that taxes both profits and sales, meaning startups that operate at a loss face a significant tax burden they wouldn’t face in other jurisdictions. In addition, businesses are forced to pay next year’s revenue taxes upfront, before they even know what their earnings will be. This policy can be devastating to small businesses, and it needs to be urgently addressed and changed, with lowering the Business Income and Receipts Tax as the key goal. 
Not only does our tax system put an undue burden on small businesses, it also puts an undue burden on our employees. The Philadelphia wage tax is the highest in the nation. Rhynhart's Administration will remain committed to lowering the local wage tax.

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people work. More and more employers have turned to virtual offices and more employees are working from home. This economic shift represents both a challenge and an opportunity.  Rebecca will work with property owners and CEOs as they rethink how our Center City core can be used and assess how those changes will affect city tax revenues. Other cities are already beginning to address the changes to downtowns that Covid brought–we must look at the ideas emerging elsewhere and, alongside property owners, consider what will work best for us here in Philadelphia.  Rebecca will also work with large nonprofits to determine the best way for them to support the city’s revenue base in a recurring way. Doing these things can create more tax revenue to fund vital city services without disproportionately affecting our residents and emerging businesses.

The bottom line: it is time to evaluate our entire tax structure, balancing businesses’ growth goals with assurances that the city’s tax burden does not fall on our most vulnerable residents. 



By the end of a Rhynhart Administration, the percentage of Black-owned businesses in the Philadelphia metro area will increase from 2.8% to equal the rate in top-ranked cities like Atlanta and Washington, DC, which both currently have just over  7%, with this growth being driven by city residents. The Philadelphia metro area currently ranks 24th in the country for Black-owned businesses behind cities like Atlanta, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and Charlotte. Like owning a house, owning a business is one of the best ways to create intergenerational wealth. And for too long, Black people have been denied credit, insurance and opportunities to start and grow their own companies. We can and must do better. 40 percent of the city's contract dollars will go to Minority-owned businesses. 

The City’s Office of Economic Opportunity will report directly to Rebecca and will report to her monthly on progress toward this contract participation goal. The office will work every day to provide assistance and support for Black-owned businesses to help them get city contracts and become prime vendors. The OEO will also help Black-owned businesses by partnering with organizations that are already providing support and helping these organizations scale up. The Enterprise Center is a national model for such work and is in our backyard. As a city, we should not only be championing this program but working directly with the center to provide additional support and resources to help amplify their mission.  For example, working with the Enterprise Center and local foundations,  Mayor Rhynhart will look to Atlanta’s 1000 Black Businesses as a model for increasing the number of Black-owned businesses that are started in the city and helping them grow.

  • Reduce the Costs of Doing Business with the City

A Rhynhart Administration will continue the work Rebecca started as Chief Administrative Officer: streamline the contract application process and decrease the length of time for contractors to get paid. When you are a small business, you should not wait months to get paid by the city. It’s not fair, and it can hurt small companies that are paying their own bills on time.

  • Investigate Sham Companies

As City Controller, Rebecca's office was responsible for investigating companies that violated minority participation goals. We discovered that the city is often not going after companies that use shell companies to hide their true ownership.  As Mayor, Rebecca will direct the Law Department and Procurement Department to get tough, take legal action and prohibit sham companies and their owners from doing business with the city.




As Mayor Rhynhart works to spur job growth, we will also work tirelessly to create workforce pipelines and job training for the residents of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Rebecca will invest in the Community College of Philadelphia, a workforce development engine for so many Philadelphians, and she will make sure that publicly-funded workforce training programs are focused on measurable, skill-based outcomes. 

Our city is emerging as the epicenter for life sciences, a sector projected to bring thousands of jobs to our city in the coming years.  We must create workforce pipelines and job training programs centered in our neighborhoods where we can up-skill our residents, so they can access good jobs with family-sustaining wages. We can do this through business support services and scaling up the capacity of organizations already offering such services through partnerships with the city.  

Over the next 5 years, Philadelphia will have the opportunity to access approximately $735 million of federal funding. This historic investment from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for cities to invest not only in infrastructure but in our local business economy and minority contractors. As a member of Accelerator for America, Rebecca has had the opportunity to work with and meet with Mayors from across the country discussing the best practices for both the IIJA money and the American Recovery money. The IIJA money specifically calls for 10% of spending on surface transportation and transit programs to be spent on Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.  Even without the direct mandate for energy, water and other projects, as Mayor, Rebecca will encourage our utility companies and direct city departments to exceed that metric and have our minority participation in these projects reflect the rich diversity of our city. By identifying which infrastructure projects we will prioritize and setting minority participation goals, we can create a new generation of minority-owned construction businesses and an opportunity to build true wealth in our communities. 
To truly position communities to take advantage of the jobs created by this influx of money, we need to establish training hubs such as the Laborers Training facility in our neighborhoods to help upskill residents to be ready to fill the needed roles as the projects begin. This can be accomplished through apprenticeship programs, Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in our high schools and partnering with trades and other organizations that can go directly into our different communities to train and develop a new workforce. Mayor Rhynhart will move to fund such programs and provide the support needed for their success. 



In Rhynhart's Administration, the Commerce Department, which is charged with attracting new businesses to Philadelphia, will have regional coordinators in place across city neighborhoods to help guide new and emerging businesses. These coordinators will work with our commercial corridors to help fill vacant spaces and coordinate city departments to serve new and long-time businesses.  We will set business corridor start-up and growth goals and make sure that every commercial corridor across the city is strong, vibrant, and meets the needs of local residents. 

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