FEATURED ARTICLES
NEWS
June 18, 2016 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, STAFF WRITER
Looking to raise millions for a bold expansion of early childhood education, Philadelphia City Council on Thursday approved a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, the first such tax imposed in a major U.S. city. The 13-4 vote put to bed months of speculation and at-times-bitter negotiations, but also ensured that the national spotlight will stay turned on Philadelphia for months, if not years. Critics quickly vowed a court challenge. And as the city introduces the unprecedented levy - and its economic and public-health effects come into view - experts, advocates, and legislators will surely be watching closely . Mayor Kenney, who can count this as the first major political victory of his term, called it a start to "changing the narrative of poverty in our city.
NEWS
August 26, 2016 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Staff Writer
As Philadelphia prepares for the January launch of its tax on sweetened beverages, a new study found low-income residents in Berkeley, Calif., home of the nation's first "soda tax," are not just consuming fewer sugary drinks. They are making a healthy substitution - water. The study by University of California, Berkeley researchers found sugary drink consumption in low-income neighborhoods fell by 21 percent five months after the tax went into effect, while water consumption rose by 63 percent.
NEWS
January 9, 2012
With a first-year record like Gov. Corbett's, it's a good thing he still has three more years to go. Or maybe not. Another three years could give Corbett time to make some progress, at least, toward pressing issues facing the state - like fixing roads and bridges, or making natural-gas drillers pay their fair share. There even may be time to do something about handgun violence that tragically ends hundreds of Pennsylvanians' lives annually (were the governor not such a gun-rights stalwart)
NEWS
March 11, 2012 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
  There's budget trouble in Medford, an affluent Norman Rockwell suburb with two newly renovated fire halls, respected schools, and a variety of lush parks. Despite the recent economic turmoil and the township's apparently insatiable demand for amenities, its tax rate stayed flat from 2006 to 2010 and went up only slightly last year. And that is precisely why the Burlington County community now faces a financial emergency, say leaders of the five-member, all-Republican Town Council and a chorus of budget experts.
NEWS
September 20, 2016 | By Bob Dick
  Imagine you find a way to help others live healthier lives, and this passion leads you to invest your savings to start a related small business. Now, imagine state government taking it all away from you with the stroke of a pen. This is the reality facing hundreds of Pennsylvania "vape" shop owners who employ more than 1,000 people - they went to bed one night living their dreams and woke up the next morning facing a nightmare. In July, lawmakers passed a $650 million tax hike to pay for a $1.6 billion spending increase.
NEWS
March 11, 2010
MAYOR NUTTER is constantly crying poor and trying to charge taxpayers more fees or provide fewer services. His new plan is to charge a weekly trash fee to help the city raise needed funds. Then, in the same day's paper is an article on Nutter appointing a former city official to a position heading the Office of Economic Opportunity. In plain English, this position is aimed at getting 25 percent of all city contracts to go to minority- or female-owned businesses. But the real kicker is that her salary will be $135,000.
NEWS
September 1, 1990
For a country that's short of cash and repelled by Wall Street greed, this proposal sounds like a winner: Tax the sale of stocks and bonds. At a penny for every $2 worth of securities, such a levy would bring in about $12 billion a year. And it would fall most heavily on the fast-buck artists who buy and sell securities for speculative gain, not long-term investment. Or so the pitch goes. Unfortunately, even though the tax sounds small, it probably would jolt financial markets.
NEWS
May 15, 2011 | By Dan Hardy and John P. Martin, Inquirer Staff Writers
Facing what some see as the most dire funding crisis in decades, school districts across the region are proposing cuts that could drastically reshape their programs and communities. In district after district, officials have proposed budgets notable for what's missing: busing, kindergarten, athletics, librarians, languages, gym classes. Thousands of area school employees are likely to lose jobs, even as taxes in their districts rise. "This is unlike anything we've seen in the last 50 years," said Lou DeVlieger, superintendent of Upper Darby School District, which plans to cut 47 jobs, draw $4 million from reserves, and raise taxes 2.7 percent.
NEWS
April 12, 2010
MANY have debated the mayor's proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax, but it would be illegal. Pennsylvania law specifically bans the city from taxing an item that the state already taxes. As anyone who's picked up a six-pack of soda in a supermarket knows, Pennsylvania taxes ALL soft drinks at 6 percent, sugar sweetened or not. Like the state sales tax, the proposed sugar tax would fall on the consumer. If this tax were enacted, we'd pay separate taxes on the same item. In fact, the city designed this tax to fall on the consumer, claiming the goal is to change buying behavior.
NEWS
June 22, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
Before dozens of cheering supporters in City Hall, Mayor Kenney signed the sweetened beverages tax into law Monday. Now comes the tough part: enforcement. The 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages is expected to raise about $91 million annually, which will go toward expanding prekindergarten in the city; creating community schools; improving parks, recreation centers, and libraries; and funding various other budget programs. Getting that money will be dependent on the Revenue Department's enforcing the tax on distributors, or, in some cases, the vendors.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 20, 2016
ISSUE | CLEAN ENERGY Tax credits help fund solar, wind power The distinction between fossil-fuel and renewable-energy incentives in a commentary (" That subsidy exclusively for Big Oil? No such thing ," Sept. 7) fell flat. Wind and solar industries in this country are primarily incentivized through tax credits, not government grants or loans. Tax credits - no matter what the energy source - leave more money in the private sector for investment, and for good reason, as more American-produced energy takes us closer to energy independence.
NEWS
September 20, 2016 | By Bob Dick
  Imagine you find a way to help others live healthier lives, and this passion leads you to invest your savings to start a related small business. Now, imagine state government taking it all away from you with the stroke of a pen. This is the reality facing hundreds of Pennsylvania "vape" shop owners who employ more than 1,000 people - they went to bed one night living their dreams and woke up the next morning facing a nightmare. In July, lawmakers passed a $650 million tax hike to pay for a $1.6 billion spending increase.
NEWS
September 20, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
For some time now, Philadelphia has been working diligently to reduce wage and businesses taxes to attract residents and businesses. As tax revenues have gone down, the city's spending has gone up, forcing officials to take money from the city's slim savings, or fund balance. The balance is now near empty - about 1 percent of revenue - and financial experts suggest that the city stop the tax cuts or increase property taxes. Moody's Investor Services, troubled by the trend, recently downgraded the city's outlook from stable to negative on its A2 (high-medium grade)
NEWS
September 19, 2016
Pat Browne is a Republican state senator from Lehigh County, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and a certified public accountant and tax attorney In 1834, nearly two centuries after the Duke of York conveyed the land and water of the present state of New Jersey to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, the U.S. Congress passed a compact between the states of New York and New Jersey. This compact was adopted to finally and permanently define the territorial rights over the Hudson River and the islands between the states.
NEWS
September 19, 2016 | By Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Pat Toomey's firm fiscal principles made him a darling of the right in his 2010 U.S. Senate victory and quickly raised his profile in Washington. But as he seeks a second term this fall, his economic views have also opened him to attack. Democratic challenger Katie McGinty spent last week blasting Toomey for his opposition to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that fined Wells Fargo $100 million for a scam affecting some two million consumer accounts.
NEWS
September 17, 2016 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Staff Writer
City Council took steps Thursday to extend one of the state's most lucrative tax breaks to dozens of new properties. But it also passed legislation to require more robust reporting from businesses that receive that subsidy and others, with the goal of better gauging the payoff. In adding about 80 properties to the state's Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) program, city officials said, they are looking to spur development in places otherwise likely to remain bare. "These are undeveloped sites that have been waiting for an extra push to get them to the finish line," said Duane Bumb, the city's senior deputy director of commerce.
NEWS
September 17, 2016
ISSUE | SODA TAX Mayor bending truth Teamsters Local 830 is delighted that the American Beverage Association (ABA) has filed suit against the City of Philadelphia to stop the unconstitutional beverage tax ("Lawsuit filed on soda tax," Thursday). We warned Mayor Kenney before he signed the tax into law in June that a lawsuit would result. Now, he's disingenuously maligning me and this union as being against universal pre-K and the city's children. That's false. We support pre-K but believe there is a fairer, more-equitable, and more-sustainable way to fund it. The mayor also is misleading Council on another major purpose for this blatant cash grab - shoring up the city's depleted fund balance with $40 million in beverage-tax revenue.
NEWS
September 16, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas and Tricia L. Nadolny, STAFF WRITERS
The American Beverage Association, along with some Philadelphia residents and businesses, filed suit Wednesday to block the city's recently enacted sweetened-beverage tax, arguing it is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed in Common Pleas Court, but lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking that the state Supreme Court take up the case. They are seeking an injunction to stop the city from collecting the tax, which goes into effect Jan. 1. "The Supreme Court will doubtlessly decide the case eventually," said Shanin Specter, the attorney representing the 10 plaintiffs.
NEWS
September 14, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - Gov. Christie's decision to end a decades-long agreement with Pennsylvania that allowed taxpayers to pay income tax where they lived instead of where they worked is a positive development for the Garden State's credit, a Wall Street ratings agency said Monday. The new tax arrangement is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, though Christie, a Republican, has suggested he might abandon the change if the Democratic-controlled Legislature cuts health-care costs for public workers. In a confirmation hearing Monday, acting state Treasurer Ford M. Scudder said the State Health Benefits Program Plan Design Committee had achieved $100 million in savings for the current fiscal year.
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