Being an unofficial mentor, of sorts, for the small businesses at the Reading Terminal Market, Paul Steinke, the market's general manager, can see the challenges small businesses face. One of them? Dealing with the city of Philadelphia's bureaucracy.
"I think the city, for a very long time, has struggled with how to be business-friendly in its dealings with small business," Steinke told me during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think there have been strides made but I still think that small businesses find it difficult to operate with various taxes and regulations."
What about the wage tax?
"The wage tax is an issue that has always been an issue," he said. "The wage tax is a big bugaboo. Most of the people are making a career out of owning a business in Philadelphia and they feel it's a burden when they have to pay it themselves and when their people have to pay it."
"Getting your licenses can be a struggle -- to figure out the system and to comply with the rules. We welcome small businesses here all the time that have to get their licenses and permits from the city and it usually is more challenging than it should be," Steinke said.
What's the specific problem?
Steinke had a quick answer: "Time and paper work and confusion about where to go and who to turn to is a struggle and I think it's a struggle citywide. If I were going to cite one thing that's a challenge in Philadelphia, it's learning how to deal with the city government and comply with its rules."