The Institute for Justice (IJ), in its new report, No Brotherly Love for Entrepreneurs, depicts just how bad the small business climate in Philadelphia has become. The city has embraced a bureaucratic culture that has led to the lowest rate of entrepreneurship of any of the 15 largest metropolitan areas in America.
To make sure it's always sunny in Philadelphia for future entrepreneurs, IJ suggests removing these barriers:
Update Zoning Laws: Philly enacted zoning laws 150 years ago and has yet to update these laws. Instead, bureaucrats create certain exemptions, which has resulted in a red-tape disaster for anyone setting up shop in the city. Additional unnecessary restrictions, such as forbidding individuals from operating a business in their home, limits free enterprise.
Reduce Stifling Taxation: Small businesses get hit with a whirlwind of fees that can make starting a new venture difficult. In fact, the law is so stringent that anyone who makes a buck from a lemonade stand or a blog is breaking the law, unless they register with the city and pay the business privilege fee.
Remove Unnecessary Permitting & Licensing: Unnecessary layers of bureaucracy make jobs more difficult to obtain by requiring entrance exams and city certification. A recent example is the 2008 law that made it illegal for a tour guide to work without passing a history exam to obtain a government-issued license.
IJ's report contains many stories showing how Philadelphia's barriers are a detriment to its citizens. The City of Brotherly Love, and Pennsylvania as a whole, should reexamine policies that discourage entrepreneurship.