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Dec. 3 2009 - 4:55 pm | 40 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

It’s official: Philly first city to give tax breaks to triple-bottom-line businesses

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Looks like the City Council of Philadelphia just voted unanimously to introduce a tax credit for companies that have received a B Corp rating.  (I wrote about the impending vote yesterday).  That makes it the first legislature in the country to provide a tax incentive for certified sustainable businesses.  The B Corp system rates triple-bottom-line companies along such areas as environmental and labor policies.

According to Bart Houlahan, co-founder of  B Lab, the nonprofit that does these certifications, the next step is to encourage other legislatures to follow suit.  Two municipalities, in Yonkers, NY, and Media, Pa., have indicated an interest in adopting a similar incentive, or at least considering it, according to Houlahan.  “We’re trying to create a road map for municipalities showing why this can create terrific economic and social value,” he said shortly after the vote.

For now, the Philadelphia effort is being called a pilot. As such, only 25 businesses will be able to get the $4,000 tax credit. City Councilman James Kenney, the bill’s sponsor,  backed the limitation, fearing that a bigger program could cost the city revenues it can’t afford to lose.  An expansion of the number of eligible companies could happen in a few years.

For his part, Houlahan says the tax break ultimately will increase city revenues, since it will encourage the creation and growth of these companies. “It should pay for itself many times over,” he said.

Today Philly, tomorrow, the world? Or, at least, Yonkers?


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  1. collapse expand

    This is an excellent start. I wonder – how does one find out which other cities/towns are considering such a tax break… Hmmm, for a NYC dweller like myself, maybe Yonkers isn’t too bad if I want to set up a new company.

  2. collapse expand

    I believe that Greyston Bakery in Yonkers is spearheading the effort there. You could contact them.

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    It's just in the past few years that I've become interested in not-only-for-profit startups and small businesses. In fact, I can remember a time when I thought the concept of "enlightened capitalism" was simply an oxymoron. Now, I see the possibilities. Plus, it combines my own political bent with my long-time coverage of small business for such places as the New York Times, Business Week, CNNMoney.com, Portfolio.com, Harvardbusinessonline, and Fortune. Otherwise, I live with my son, a soccer fanatic, my husband, a journalist and avid rower, in Pelham, NY. My daughter, a former varsity wrestler, is away at college, studying art. You can see more of my work at www.annefieldonline.com. Or follow me on Twitter@annearfannearf.

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