July 8, 2014
AFTER THE Legislature passed a bill last week giving Philadelphia the right to impose a $2-a-pack cigarette tax to raise money for the city's schools, Gov. Corbett took a moment to congratulate himself. "We have worked for over a year, above the partisan politics, to put the students of Philadelphia first," Corbett told reporters. We don't know whether to laugh or to cry. In fairness, we don't know exactly what the governor means by putting the students of Philadelphia first.
July 3, 2014
IN 1993, Bill Clinton was president, "Seinfeld" was on TV and a cellphone was the size of a brick. It was also the last time that Congress raised the federal gasoline tax, which pays for roads, bridges and public transit. Over two decades, the cost of building and maintaining the nation's transportation infrastructure has gone up significantly, while the tax designed to fund the work has stayed flat: Drivers still pay 18.4 cents per gallon at the pump for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel.
June 19, 2014
THE ILLUSTRATED graphic that the School District of Philadelphia is distributing, which depicts in simple terms what will happen without additional money, is ingeniously simple - and a mark of how desperate the district truly must be. The drawings are what you might find in a book for fourth-graders - simple, yet perhaps right on the mark in terms of addressing the comprehension levels of its audience, which is lawmakers at both the city and state...
June 12, 2014
J ONATHAN BARSADE, 52, of Wynnewood, is founder and CEO of Exactor, an online provider of tax-compliance solutions for firms that do business in multiple states. Barsade, a former tax lawyer, started Exactor in 2006. He invested more than $1 million to get the business running. Exactor has 25 employees, mostly in Philly and Miami, and 5,000 clients. Q: How did you come up with the idea for Exactor? A: My background is as a tax attorney and I published a lot about the borderless environment the Internet was creating and e-commerce was still nascent.
May 24, 2014 |
What a difference eight little words make. Last week, City Council was accused of introducing a bill that jeopardized the money raised from Philadelphia's extra 1 percent sales tax, a desperately needed source of revenue for the schools. The legislation staked out Council President Darrell L. Clarke's position: The extra sales tax revenue, expected to be about $137 million next year, should be split evenly between the school district and the city's public employee pension system.
May 23, 2014 |
FOLLOWING intense criticism, City Council President Darrell Clarke agreed yesterday to add a "safety-net" provision to legislation that would extend a city sales-tax increase so that, even if state lawmakers don't act on the issue this spring, the tax would be extended and the School District of Philadelphia would get $120 million next year. "What we can't do is allow ourselves to be in a position that if there are some changes in the existing state provision or some changes in the proposal that we put forth, that we're not in a position to take advantage of the extension of the sales tax," Clarke told reporters after Council's regular session yesterday.
May 17, 2014 |
With six weeks left to pass a budget, City Council on Thursday finally introduced long-expected legislation to extend Philadelphia's extra 1 percent sales tax. In the first year, the bill would devote $120 million to the schools, money the district has been counting on to help close a huge funding gap. Any extra revenue would go to the public-employee pension system, which is about $5 billion underfunded. But over the next three years, the pension system's share of the revenue generated by the additional penny in the sales tax - which in 2015 is expected to bring in an extra $137 million - would steadily increase, until the fourth year, when it would be split evenly between the schools and the city.
May 1, 2014
NEARLY two weeks ago, we asked where the urgency was on the response to the School District of Philadelphia budget woes from the city and the state. That includes the budget woes for the current school year, which the district anticipates ending with a $29 million deficit. Last week, the district released its budget for next year, and the shortfall is now $216 million - and that's just to keep treading water. That doesn't include building the district with more programs that Superintendent William Hite wants to add to actually improve education.
April 28, 2014
Every year, Mayor Nutter and City Council must decide how much of the city's budget should be given to public schools. It's a tough decision, because by law, whatever they commit cannot be reduced later. Their decision has been made more difficult as the state, which effectively took over the School District in 2001, has time and again in recent years failed to adequately fund all of the schools' needs. But this year is different. The legislature gave the city the go-ahead to extend a sales-tax hike, which could provide another $120 million a year for schools.
April 14, 2014 |
TRENTON - The Christie administration is proposing a series of "tax policy adjustments" in its next budget to "close loopholes, increase consistency, and support fairness. " But none of them, the Christie administration says, are new taxes or tax increases. Fees and adjustments are favored terms for both parties in modern political discourse. But the tax rhetoric being used by the administration is notable, in part, because the Republican governor repeatedly attacked his Democratic rival in his reelection campaign last year for voting to raise taxes and fees "154 times" in her legislative career.