July 3, 2013 |
PART OF GOV. Corbett's so-called rescue plan for the Philadelphia school district involves funding that city lawmakers had their eyes on to fix an equally vexing problem - the drastically underfunded pension. Corbett's plan included funding earned through the extension of a 1 percent sales-tax increase, which had been set to expire in June, but city lawmakers say they had been considering the tax as a way to help the city from sinking under ever-increasing pension costs. "I think the pension problem is as diffreicult and challenging as the school district problem is," Council President Darrell Clarke said Monday.
July 1, 2013 |
Skeptics say there's no such thing as a "temporary" tax. Like the two-year property tax increase City Council passed in 2010 that, lo and behold, is still with us. Or another dreaded levy: the wage tax. It was passed in 1939 as a short-term fix for the city's finances, but succeeding generations have nonetheless been forced to accept its bite in their paychecks. The latest tax under consideration for immortality is the 1 percent sales-tax increase the state allowed Philadelphia to impose in 2009 as a bridge through the recession.
June 20, 2013 |
AS CITY COUNCIL President Darrell Clarke declared yesterday that the city has done its part to solve the school-funding crisis, Gov. Corbett and state and city officials were moving closer to a deal that could send up to $100 million to the struggling district. Sources cautioned, however, that securing a sum that high would be an uphill climb and that no plan had been finalized. Discussions included potentially diverting a portion of the 1 percent increase to the sales tax the city enacted in 2009, increasing state charter-school reimbursements or finding other revenue streams, according to sources, who said a more realistic figure would be closer to $66 million.
June 5, 2013
If New Jersey doesn't buy vacant land now, it will be gone in two decades. That's when geographers predict it will become the first state designated as "built out. " That means no room for new structures, just impervious surfaces diverting storm water into basements, or worse. Before that happens, New Jersey voters should have a say in whether they must live in an overdeveloped state where rainstorms bring the threat of destruction and death. Voters should decide whether the state dedicates more public funds to preserving open space and lessening the impact of flooding.
May 22, 2013 |
TRENTON - A proposal to let voters decide whether to direct a fraction of sales-tax revenues toward land preservation for the next 30 years cleared another hurdle Monday when a Senate committee signed off on legislation to put the question on the ballot this November. Land-use experts and preservationists were nearly unanimous in their support. Preservation proponents have long sought a stable, long-term funding source for open-space acquisitions, which include farmland, historic sites, and properties that repeatedly flood.
May 3, 2013
DAN ROITMAN, chief executive of the Center City -based Stroll, is no fan of the Marketplace Fairness Act, the so-called Internet sales-tax bill expected to be voted on in the U.S. Senate on Monday. The legislation would empower states to reach beyond their borders and compel online marketers - like Stroll - to collect state and local sales taxes for online purchases. The sales taxes then would be sent to the state where a shopper lives. Stroll is an Internet-based marketing platform that sells audio language-learning products and had more than $80 million in revenues last year.
April 26, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate moved closer Thursday to passing a bill to tax purchases made over the Internet, but a final vote was delayed until members return from a weeklong vacation. Although opponents hope senators will hear from angry constituents over the next week, they have a steep hill to climb to defeat the bill. The Senate voted, 63-30, to end debate, setting up the final vote May 6. That vote will require only a majority, so 14 supporters would have to flip to stop it. President Obama supports the bill, but it faces an uncertain fate in the House, where some Republicans consider it a tax increase.
April 5, 2013 |
Need a reason to drink? How about improving the futures of Philadelphia's school kids? Mayor Nutter and City Council are rarely on the same page these days, but the possibility of increasing the "liquor by the drink" tax to help pay for the School Reform Commission request last week for $60 million seems to be gaining traction on both sides. City Council President Darrell Clarke has pledged support for increasing the tax, which now adds 10 percent to your bar tab (on top of the sales tax)
February 28, 2013 |
The Pennsylvania House and Senate Appropriations Committees met this week to address modernizing everyone's favorite monopoly, the state Liquor Control Board. Right there, you've got your first problem. Pennsylvania, the land time forgot, doesn't do change. The board was founded at the end of Prohibition to, as Gov. Gifford Pinchot declared, "discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible," a promise we can agree it has made good on to this day. We have the "temporary" 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax that dates to 1936.
February 25, 2013
D EAR HARRY: I've had a series of unfortunate events too complicated to include in a letter. I am very slowly working my way out. I operate a retail store in Philly, and I fell behind in my sales-tax payments a few years ago. I am trying to get the state to arrange for a regular payment plan. However, it refused to do so, because it says I have not filed my Pennsylvania income-tax forms for 1996, 1999 and 2000. Unfortunately, I do not have these forms. The accountant who prepared them is deceased, and his records were shredded years ago. I was not notified about these missing returns until I got the letter last week.