June 18, 2016 |
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.
August 26, 2016 |
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.
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)
March 11, 2012 |
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.
September 20, 2016 |
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.
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.
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.
May 15, 2011 |
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.
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.
June 22, 2016 |
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.