The Good Economist May 2016 - Page 6

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The second bill amends the Jump Start Philly program to provide a total of 36 months of BIRT tax exemption for new businesses that obtain B Corp certification. Currently, the Jump Start Philly program provides up to 24 months of BIRT exemption for any new business that meets specified job creation requirements. But by placing traditional start-up businesses on equal standing with sustainable businesses, the program creates no incentive for the adoption of sustainable practices in the start-up.

SBN Executive Director, Jamie Gauthier, spoke in support of the two bills, regarding both as critical steps to “form the right ecosystem for a just, sustainable economy to grow and thrive.” She emphasized the importance of establishing a foundation for growing the number of sustainable businesses, “Mission driven businesses are a tremendous resource in impacting a host of complex issues, such as deep poverty and environmental concerns. … Increasing the number of businesses committed to a triple bottom line would advance the City of Philadelphia’s goals for shared economic prosperity and sustainability.”

Along with SBN, five members - Marcus Iannozzi of Message Agency, Robert Cheetham of Azavea, Elizabeth Guman of Strategy Arts, Mary Whalen of Solutions for Progress, and Nicole Koedyker of Forsei Consulting - offered compelling testimony about the local economic benefits that a sustainable procurement policy would provide.

Elizabeth Guman expressed the significance of creating a culture that holds business more accountable to its community. “Business is not neutral. … The challenges we face in the city cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. Business has to be part of that solution – driving a strong economy, creating jobs and economic opportunity,” stated Guman.