City Controller Alan Butkovitz last week released a plan for the city to create 4,400 jobs by partnering with its education and medical anchor institutions to spend more of their money in Philadelphia rather than outside the city.
Butkovitz made the announcement during a Jan. 9 news conference at the controller’s 12th-floor office at the Municipal Services Building.
The institutions cited by Butkovitz were 18 universities or colleges and 16 hospitals located in Philadelphia.
The controller’s report indicated that, if those institutions would increase their local spending by 25 percent, it could generate $642 million in spending and $14 million in new tax revenues each year.
“This is a real and serious initiative for the city,” Butkovitz said. “The local government’s role would be to coordinate and build relationships, to assist with financing enterprises, and to create incentives for firms to locate here to meet the anchor demand.”
Most of the spending would take place in manufacturing and real estate, with other dollars coming in professional services and management.
The plan was endorsed by Lucy Kerman, vice provost for university and community partnerships at Drexel University. Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania already have developed a local office supply vendor.
Butkovitz said similar reinvestments have been successful in Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore.
“It’s happening in other cities that have far fewer resources and world-class institutions than we have in Philadelphia,” he said. “We can establish the workings and agreements of this program now, and then reap the benefits for years to come.”
The report can be viewed at www.philadelphiacontroller.org ••