FEATURED ARTICLES
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
September 18, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House could vote as early as Wednesday to authorize Philadelphia to impose a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes to raise money for its cash-starved schools. The proposed tax had been caught in a legislative logjam since the summer, but appears on a fast track to Gov. Corbett's desk. The measure was approved Tuesday by the House Rules Committee, and is likely to be voted on by the full House on Wednesday or Monday. The bill would then be sent to the Senate, where legislative leaders have said it remains high on their priority list.
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
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
January 4, 1990 | By Brigette ReDavid, Special to The Inquirer
Narberth's 1990 operating budget of about $1.5 million will require no tax increase after all. According to borough manager William Martin, the 3.28-mill tax increase that had been proposed was offset by unanticipated revenue, including a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pick up 75 percent of the $80,000 estimated cost of renovating and building an addition to the borough library. Martin said the borough also received about $80,000 not originally figured into the proposed 1990 budget in reimbursement for compensation pay for a police officer out of work since 1984.
NEWS
December 5, 2013 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
THERE'S A NEW real-estate tax loophole for Philadelphians - and you don't need to be a millionaire to take advantage of it. To limit the huge increases some residents are seeing under the Actual Value Initiative tax-reform effort, the city is launching the Longtime Owner Occupants Program, or LOOP. "I do not create these acronyms, but I think this one is quite interesting," Mayor Nutter said while announcing the program yesterday with City Council members. The program will benefit lower-income homeowners who have been in their homes for at least 10 years and saw their property assessments increase by 300 percent or more this year.
NEWS
October 29, 2008
EVERY potential voter has heard by now that, as president, Barack Obama is going to give a middle-class tax cut and tax subsidies to 95 percent of Americans. These will be funded by income-tax increases on the country's richest 5 percent, in addition to hikes on the capital-gains tax, dividends tax, death tax, payroll tax and windfall-profits tax. You'd think that if 95 percent of Americans would save (or possibly make) money from electing Obama, he would be polling at 95 percent.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 29, 2014 | By Suzette Parmley, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - At 66, Audrey Williams is looking for a job to pay the property taxes on the Northside duplex she has owned for 14 years. Although she retired last New Year's Eve after 33 years as a dealer at Resorts and Showboat, recent events are forcing her back to work. Ironically, the casino industry that supported her for more than three decades is shrinking, and causing a severe revenue shortfall for the city. The burgeoning deficit, between what the city used to get from the casinos in property taxes, and what it can extract today with just eight instead of 12 gambling halls, as well as casino tax appeals that have resulted in more than $350 million in refunds by the city, is being passed on to its residents.
BUSINESS
September 27, 2014 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
PITTSBURGH - Former Gov. Tom Ridge believes Pennsylvania will adopt a natural gas severance tax. "I think there will wind up being a severance tax in this state," Ridge told a gas-industry conference Thursday. "Just my feeling. " Ridge's comments came a few minutes before Gov. Corbett, a fellow Republican whose reelection effort has been lagging in the polls, took the stage at the Shale Insight conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Corbett has staunchly opposed a severance tax, saying it might retard the industry's growth, despite polls showing strong popular support for a levy on gas production.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | BY JAMES BUEHLER, M.D. AND DONALD F. SCHWARZ, M.D., MPH
  MORE THAN 500,000 Philadelphians have been regular smokers at some point in their lives. Approximately half have quit smoking. The other half continue to smoke. "I started smoking when I was twelve," said Susan McTamney, a former City of Philadelphia employee. "I stole my first cigarette off my sister. I smoked for 36 years . . . 4 packs per day for the last 15 years of my smoking habit. " Yet most smokers don't want to be smokers. In fact, nine out of ten regret having ever started smoking, and the majority have tried to quit in the past year.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
THE ROLLER COASTER week for Philadelphia public schools continued yesterday with some good and bad news. Gov. Corbett signed a bill authorizing a Philadelphia cigarette tax to provide key funds for the distressed district, ending months of uncertainty and suspense. The tax will be implemented Oct. 1 and is expected to generate approximately $49 million this school year. Less than an hour later, the district announced that scores declined on the 2014 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment for the third straight year.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett on Wednesday signed the bill that authorizes Philadelphia to impose a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes to help raise money for the city's cash-starved schools. "For the first time while in Harrisburg, I'm smiling," School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said. The signing follows months of wrangling in the GOP-controlled legislature, with some of its more conservative members resisting allowing the city to increase the levy. Corbett, a Republican, said legislators in both parties came together to bridge those differences.
NEWS
September 25, 2014 | By Maria Panaritis and Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writers
The cigarette tax approved by Pennsylvania lawmakers Tuesday will soon make a pack of $6.65 Newports cost $2 more at the corner store that Hanif Woods patronizes in West Philadelphia. But don't think for a minute that he or his friends will bother hustling to the nearby county line for a price break. Even with the promise of much lower prices in the suburbs - a short drive from Jesly Food Market at 60th Street and Girard Avenue - the 24-year-old Woods didn't expect his shopping habits to change when the levy goes into effect.
NEWS
September 25, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
PHILADELPHIA School District officials breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as a local cigarette tax - $2 per pack to provide key funding for schools - cleared the final hurdle in Harrisburg after months of suspense. The state Senate approved the bill, 39-11, one day after lawmakers in the House passed it. It heads to Gov. Corbett, who is expected to sign it publicly today. The tax is expected to generate at least $49 million this school year for the embattled district, erasing a sizable deficit and averting massive layoffs.
NEWS
September 25, 2014 | By Amy Worden and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - The state Senate late Tuesday approved a bill authorizing the City of Philadelphia to impose a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes, ending months of wrangling over revenue to plug a deepening hole in the School District budget. Gov. Corbett said he would sign the bill Wednesday. The price hike could take affect in a week or so. "I am pleased that both chambers have taken action on this legislation so that the Philadelphia School District and, more importantly, the students of Philadelphia can benefit from it," he said in a statement.
NEWS
September 24, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
HERE WE GO AGAIN. After a summer of political pingpong and inaction, the Philadelphia cigarette tax proposed to help fund the city's beleaguered school district appears on again. The state House yesterday approved a simplified version of the bill that would authorize the city to levy a $2-per-pack tax, by a vote of 114-84, sending it back to the Senate, where a vote could take place as early as tomorrow. Sources in the Senate said the legislation should pass this week, but a spokesman for the top Republican would not go that far. "The Senate will caucus on the bill and make a determination on how to proceed," said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware County.
NEWS
September 24, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
  HARRISBURG - In what essentially was a warm-up for Monday's gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Tom Wolf found himself playing defense on some of his key campaign positions. Speaking before a packed crowd at the monthly Pennsylvania press club luncheon Monday, Wolf reiterated his position that he would boost education funding through a 5 percent tax on the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. But he found himself having to explain his position on other issues, namely his idea of replacing the state's across-the-board personal income tax with a graduated tax. Wolf, a wealthy businessman from York, said he believes that would ease the tax burden on the middle class and shift the burden to wealthier taxpayers.
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