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.
February 7, 2013
No sale on school funding plan Pennsylvania students shouldn't have to wait in line behind corporations for a cut of $250,000 in additional yearly school funds. But that's Gov. Corbett's plan for public education. He wants Pennsylvania to swap 5,000 State Store jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in regular-as-clockwork revenue for a paltry education block grant divided among 500 districts. Corbett prefers to plunder public resources instead of finding permanent ways to fund vital services.
February 6, 2013 |
TRENTON - A powerful Democrat is moving ahead with a plan to ask New Jersey voters in November to approve long-term funding for open space preservation, but there's no consensus on how to pay for it. The Senate Environmental Committee on Monday discussed three funding options now that $400 million in land-preservation bonds that voters approved in 2009 have been spent. Funding sources being considered are a water-user fee that would cost residential customers about $36 a year, setting aside $200 million a year from sales tax revenue, or replenishing the fund again through borrowing.
January 28, 2013 |
Small-business owners may be closer to losing an advantage they've enjoyed during the e-commerce boom: being exempt from collecting sales tax in states where they're not located. And they worry they'll have to spend more money in the process. Under federal law, a state or local government cannot force a company to collect sales tax on a purchase - whether that purchase was made online, by phone, or through mail order - unless the business has a physical presence in the state or locality.