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.
January 18, 2013 |
Gov. Corbett is about to roll out a long-awaited plan for solving Pennsylvania's transportation-funding crisis - by raising more revenue from a tax on wholesale gasoline. The governor is scheduled to announce next week that he intends to uncap the so-called oil company franchise tax, according to two senior legislative staffers who are familiar with the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity. That tax is levied on the wholesale price of gas and is now capped at $1.25 per gallon.
January 16, 2013
Freeze appears to ease in West FRESNO, Calif. - The freeze gripping the West appeared on the verge of easing Tuesday, but farmers who spent millions to protect crops were still assessing damage, some produce prices climbed, and businesses and residents dealt with burst pipes. The National Weather Service predicted another frosty night but said temperatures would begin to warm as high pressure moved east. For a fifth night, temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley, California's agricultural heart, dipped below freezing, though they were a few degrees warmer than previous nights.
December 9, 2012
Medical marijuana has been declared a prescription drug by the Legislature, so why is Gov. Christie trying to charge a sales tax when it's purchased? Is it out of spite because he couldn't block the legislation? Whatever the reason, it's wrong. Medical marijuana should be treated like other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, whch means no sales tax would be collected. The Christie administration jumped on an apparent loophole in the law when the Treasury Department announced last week that medical marijuana would be subject to a 7 percent sales tax - a potential revenue windfall for the state's coffers, but an additional financial burden for cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other patients prescribed marijuana to relieve pain.