A Regulative Pathway from the Former Mayor of Philadelphia
Former Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter has plenty of experience with people clinging to the status quo. “What I say back home is, Philadelphians love change,” said Mayor Nutter. “As long as things can stay the same.” Mayor Nutter believes that city officials should first and foremost remain open to the possibility of disruptive companies that can provide new or better services to their constituents. In July of 2015, in Mayor Nutter’s last year of office, Philadelphia legalized Airbnb and passed a plan to collect taxes from the home-sharing company shortly before Pope Francis visited. Mayor Nutter, who is currently serving as the Chair of Airbnb’s Mayoral Advisory Board, said the additional housing was extremely beneficial for a city that might otherwise have seen people camping outside due to a shortage of hotel rooms. He spoke of the importance of bringing commerce to neighborhoods outside hotel districts, and of families having the ability to profit from their most valuable asset.
While he admits there is no one-size-fits-all method to regulating and taxing the sharing economy, Mayor Nutter believes that it will continue to evolve and remain in demand, particularly among Americans concentrated in city centers. Mayor Nutter’s advice to other city officials is to pay attention, be open, and ask questions about what they don’t understand. Always try to figure out how this helps improve the quality of live for your constituents, or provides a new opportunity, said Mayor Nutter. What seems disruptive now may become standard operating procedure in just a few years.