By Rob Wonderling

In 2011, members of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce were actively involved in working with City Council on a number of issues. In fact, in the last year, Council representatives received more than 1,500 messages from employers on proposed legislation. From health care to taxes, Chamber member companies both large and small let their voices be heard.

We appreciate Council's efforts to reach out to job creators and congratulate them on efforts to improve Philadelphia's business climate, particularly efforts to reduce the Business Privilege Tax, which will stimulate job growth and encourage economic development.

The Chamber looks forward to continuing that robust relationship with new and returning Council members in 2012. We hope to further improve our tax climate, foster job growth and entrepreneurship, and promote efficiency in government. If Philadelphia fails to promote economic development and employment opportunities, we will be unable to adequately compete in this fast-paced global economy.

In working with all levels of government, the Chamber will be looking to see how any proposed legislation matches up with these recently developed principles:

Government rules and regulations should provide for safe and responsive business operations, but should not be onerous, costly, or out of context with competitive locations. These regulations should be appropriate for the level of government enacting them, and government must be conscious of the overall cost of doing business - taxes, fees, insurance, regulatory expense - in order to provide a competitive business environment.

The Chamber will work with like-minded organizations to advance an agenda leading to economic growth and prosperity.

Government at all levels must operate in an efficient way to maximize the services that it provides.

An educated workforce is key to the long-term success of the business community and helps attract and retain businesses in the region. Employers must be active in evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of public education as it applies to producing a quality education for students as well as a job-ready workforce.

Our region should strive to provide efficient services with the lowest possible tax rates. Taxes should be broad-based and not target a particular industry and need to be shared equitably between business and citizens.

Infrastructure improvements (physical, intellectual, and financial) are crucial for the competitive landscape of our region.

Quality-of-life issues impact the business environment and serve as a positive factor in talent recruitment. The business community must support and grow the arts, culture, and tourism sectors that are proven job creators. We must also play a supportive role with government efforts to address public safety concerns.

The promise of the new year brings hope and new opportunities for success. At the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, we look forward to a renewed relationship with our representatives in Council and a prosperous 2012.