inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Philly Low on List of Country’s Best 100 Cities for Entrepreneurs

Benjamin Franklin, arguably Philadelphia’s most famous resident, reportedly once urged his contemporaries: “Work as if you were to live a hundred years.”

Philadelphia apparently didn’t get the message.

A new WalletHub survey of the “best large cities to start a business” ranked Philadelphia 85th among the 100 cities reviewed. That places it below cities such as Chesapeake, Va., Omaha, Nashville, and Henderson, Nev.

David Oh, an attorney and former Republican city councilman now running for mayor, said of the city’s entrepreneurs, “Those who can leave, leave.”

“Those who can start their businesses elsewhere,” he said. “And so we have that reduction. But with the vilification of entrepreneurs, which has happened over the last few years, our communities are actually electing people who vilify small business, big business, (and) landlords.”

City leaders “vilify businesses and help, you know, make things very difficult for business owners,” said Oh. “Lots of regulations that are unnecessary, penalties and things like that.”

Neither Mayor Jim Kenney nor Gov. Josh Shapiro responded to requests for comment. Shapiro campaigned in part on bringing new jobs to the state.

Kathryn Elliott, a professor of the practice of entrepreneurship and director of the Center of Entrepreneurship at High Point University, said state and local authorities “can stimulate business growth by creating a safe yet more small business-friendly legal environment, investing in the business and entrepreneurial training, reduction of bureaucratic red tape, and lastly encouraging networking collaboratively amongst businesses and investors locally and statewide.”

Oh said residents “can’t buy a soda without paying a tax in Philadelphia” (though, he claimed, heroin is easily accessible). He said the city is levying “more and more taxes” on those who have stayed behind.

“It falls upon the poor because they hear the rich are going to pay for it, but they end up paying for it. And it creates a big problem.

“I, for example, introduced bills to try to level the playing field to bring employers, large employers, to Philadelphia. My colleagues (on city council) don’t support it because that’s tainted as corporate welfare, whereas these employers go to other places because it’s more competitive.”

Michael Omansky, associate professor at the School of Business at Felician University, agreed that cities need to reduce taxes.

“They need to keep their fees down, as well as taxes at lower revenue levels,” he said. Also, officials should offer incentives for job creation and “not get in the way of the entrepreneur,” he argued.

Oh said that the city’s considerable number of taxes—a “wage tax,” a “gross receipts tax,” and others—have produced very little value relative to their cost.

“The schools, the education system, is doing very poorly,” said Oh. “So your base workforce is having a problem in terms of when you try to recruit employers here. We have a wonderful college and university system, so that’s not a problem.”

“But overall, it’s the instability of Philadelphia,” he said. “The taxes are unstable, and the business climate is unpredictable.”

The number one city choice for entrepreneurs, according to WalletHub, is Orlando, Florida, a state led by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. In fact, the top four slots went to Florida towns: Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa, followed Orlando.

Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, Pittsburgh, came in at 96.

WalletHub’s methodology included business environments, resource access, and business costs. The analysis did not include the suburbs of the surveyed cities.

The website also used 19 metrics and gave those “weighted” importance. They included the population’s education level, taxes, capital availability, and office space cost.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or


Philly Wins the Booby Prize for Drivability

For years, Philadelphia commuters have complained — or even bragged — about having the worst traffic in America.

And now it is official.

Data analysis by ranked Philadelphia dead last on its list of ‘Worst Cities for Driving.’ The site’s study considered factors including traffic volume or congestion, infrastructure, and the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle. The ‘Bottom 10’ included Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Detroit, and Philadelphia, in that order.

What makes driving in and around Philadelphia so angst-inducing? The sheer volume of traffic is an issue, of course. But other factors are in play as well.

Vince Paraveccchia works in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia. Before this year he worked in the Oxford Circle section of the city. Paravecchia cites factors that make his daily commute from Bucks County a challenge.

“Traffic is awful,” he said. “I-95 is an absolute nightmare every morning and afternoon. There’s always a project which is barely being worked on, and it slows everything up and causes countless jams.

“Double the problems if it is raining. I’ve gotten to the point where I’d rather drive in a blinding snowstorm in Philly than a foggy, chilly rainstorm. Why? Because many of the bad drivers stay home in the snow.”

Paravecchia notes road conditions, including or especially those on major thoroughfares, add to drivers’ woes.

“There is no road in America I’ve been on worse than the Schuylkill,” he said. “I’ve driven (I-5) near Los Angeles and been a passenger in L.A. I’ve done the entire length of the Garden State Parkway, the George Washington Bridge, and New York City. The Taconic Parkway. I-287 (in New Jersey). Connecticut. Atlanta (been through with my brother but I wasn’t the driver). Florida. D.C., Boston. Pittsburgh. San Diego. They are all better than Philly. The only places that rival Philly are Delaware near Wilmington and the Maryland border (with lots of volume with nowhere to go) and parts of New York City and Boston. But in my opinion, Philadelphia is the most maddening.”

The cost of vehicle maintenance is another source of aggravation for drivers. Jill Gonzalez is a public policy expert for

“One of the reasons Philadelphia is the worst city to drive in is the high cost of ownership and maintenance,” she said. “For example, the city has the third highest average monthly car insurance premium at almost $300.”

Gonzalez cites other factors that add to the stress of driving in the city.

“Philadelphia doesn’t fare well in terms of infrastructure,” she said, “considering the poor quality of bridges where it ranks in the bottom 10. Plus, the city has a significantly higher accident likelihood compared to the national average more specifically, 67 percent higher.”

That accident rate is fueled in part by the sheer volume of traffic on narrow city streets. The problem is magnified by phenomena including drivers who engage in unique driving practices, notably abrupt lane changes, perhaps from the far right to the left-turn lane, often without signaling or refusing to pull forward into an intersection from a left-turn lane.

Vic Monaco, who resides in Bucks County, spoke to the latter issue.

“The constant thing that drives me nuts is drivers who don’t pull halfway into an intersection when waiting to make a turn,” he said. “Not sure if this is taught (it is) but it’s just common sense and courtesy. When they do this, nine times out of 10 they are the only ones who get to make a turn because others don’t get to pull forward either.”

Other common issues are trucks from Amazon, UPS, and other delivery services blocking a lane while the driver makes a delivery, traffic signals that are out of synch resulting in long delays at intersections, and motorists getting caught in the middle of an intersection when the light changes.

Drivers accept situations like those described above as things that go along with urban driving. Gonzalez suggests carpooling as a way to deal with the volume of traffic.

“Carpooling or using public transportation whenever possible are great ways to avoid and reduce traffic congestion,” she said. “That would not only lead to reduced travel time but can also lower the costs of a commute. Biking or walking to work where applicable are other ways to avoid congestion.”

For many drivers, however, carpooling is not an opinion. So, for the time being, motorists are advised to be patient, allow for extra travel time, and hope their patience lasts longer than their commute.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or