Councilman Bill Green took aim at the city's so-called blogger tax Thursday, introducing legislation that would exempt bloggers and others whose work is a hobby from certain city taxes.
The national media went negative on Philadelphia in August after the city increased efforts to collect fees for the business-privilege tax license and related levies.
Some of the people who got letters saying they may owe the city money were bloggers, setting off a wave of criticism that the city's policies would drive away young, tech-savvy residents.
In reality, the city was not taxing bloggers. It was casting a wider net to collect the BPT license fee of $50 yearly or $300 for a lifetime license.
"To require a hobbyist with incidental income to get a $50 license, fill out a business-tax return, and pay nominal tax makes absolutely no sense," Green said.
His proposed law would prevent the city from requiring people who pursue "hobbies or other not-for-profit activity" to get the BPT license or pay the tax. The law would use federal regulations to determine what is a hobby.
Green said the law would not trim city revenue.
Two bloggers said they liked Green's idea.
"If it popped up on my Facebook page, I'd like it," said Anna Goldfarb, author of the dating blog Shmitten Kitten.
Linda Vertleib, who runs the blog FrugalPhillyMom.com, said the change was welcome.
"I know that a lot of bloggers make money, but you have to separate those that make a lot of money from those who don't," she said.
Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter, said the administration would not comment until it had reviewed the proposed changes.
The legislation is part of a broader push by Green to overhaul Philadelphia's tax code. With Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez, Green has introduced legislation that would remake the city's business-tax code by eliminating the current 6.45 percent tax on net income. Their proposal also would increase the gross-receipts tax from 14 cents on every $100 in revenue to 50 cents. Both changes would take place over five years.
Businesses with less than $100,000 in revenue would be exempt, and there would be breaks for manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and produce stores.
Green and Quiñones Sánchez on Thursday presented a new website - www.forwardphiladelphia.com - that lets business owners calculate how they would fare under their system.
Also Thursday, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller introduced legislation that would require property owners to clear a 36-inch-wide path on their sidewalks after snowstorms. The current standard is 30 inches. Miller said she wanted the change to ensure that people in wheelchairs could get through.