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Tax

NEWS
June 17, 2016
A funny thing happened on the way to City Council's expected approval of Mayor Kenney's sugary-drinks tax for pre-K: It ceased to be a sugary-drinks tax for pre-K. Granted, the city still means to tax sweetened beverages to pay for more prekindergarten. But officials also plan to use the revenue to cover city employee benefits, shore up reserves, and pay for a host of other pet projects and causes, the Inquirer reported this week. Moreover, the tax would expand to encompass diet sodas - drinks that by definition are not sugary.
NEWS
June 17, 2016 | By Karen Langley, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - The House ventured into the national debate over fantasy sports Wednesday, with a committee unanimously approving legislation to regulate and tax the contests. The bill calls for fantasy sports operators to obtain state licenses, then pay a levy equal to 5 percent of their revenue - entry fees minus prizes - multiplied by a percentage representing their business from Pennsylvania. Supporters say it's unclear how much new revenue the cash-strapped commonwealth could gain, though it would likely not be enough to change its budget woes.
NEWS
June 16, 2016
ISSUE | SODA TAX Kenney's sleight of hand Mayor Kenney was very clever about the sugary-beverage tax ("New soda tax plan: 11/2 cents," Thursday). First, more than half of its revenue was earmarked for prekindergarten. What politician would go on record opposing that? Second, it was to be a tax on sugary drinks, so it could be an inducement to improved health. Now the tax will be levied on diet drinks as well. Third, since the tax will be charged to distributors, consumers and store owners would be spared.
NEWS
June 16, 2016 | By Solomon Jones
TOO OFTEN presented as perpetually needy, poor children are frequently trotted out as props for ad campaigns. Their upturned faces, staring out from TV screens, can make the most hardened among us want to lend a hand to the needy, to the helpless, to the children. In watching the contentious debate over the 1.5-cents-per ounce beverage tax that City Council is poised to pass on Thursday, I saw that scenario play out yet again. As images of children filled our TV screens, we were led to believe that the tax would fund universal pre-kindergarten for Philadelphia's kids.
NEWS
June 16, 2016
By Ronald D. Castille Mayor Kenney and City Council are in the process of violating the Pennsylvania Constitution by enacting a tax on each ounce of sugar-sweetened beverages and - after the latest legislative shenanigans - certain diet beverages. It is beyond dispute that only the state legislature can determine where and on what items a tax can be imposed. Harrisburg is why we in Philadelphia pay an 8 percent sales tax instead of the 6 percent sales tax in other parts of the commonwealth.
NEWS
June 15, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Tricia L. Nadolny, and Julia Terruso, STAFF WRITERS
While Mayor Kenney pitched his sugary drink tax as needed to fund early childhood education, it turns out that nearly 20 percent of the money raised would go to other city programs and employee benefits. The additional spending - never mentioned while Kenney was selling the tax to the public - was added on during talks with Council on the proposed tax, according to the administration. "These changes are the result of weeks of negotiations between City Council and the administration," said Mike Dunn, spokesman for the administration.
NEWS
June 15, 2016
By Darrell L. Clarke, Bobby Henon, Blondell Reynolds Brown, and Bill Greenlee On Thursday, City Council will pass a progressive budget that makes historic investments in our children, public spaces, and long-term economic vitality, and demonstrates that cities can rise above the political paralysis gripping state capitals and Washington. We commend Mayor Kenney and his staff for a bold first budget and for a collaborative and productive process. Communication with Council was key to building consensus and producing a final budget that is fiscally responsible and equitable.
NEWS
June 15, 2016
By Joseph J. DeFelice During the months-long debate about Mayor Kenney's proposed soda tax, we heard the same argument over and over: This is for the kids. Now, as Council has advanced a "compromise" bill that is likely to pass Thursday, an eleventh-hour change means that much of the revenue is going to a slew of the mayor's distinctly non-child-related priorities. This includes $41 million over four years for the city's general fund - from your pocket to the city's coffers. Yes, all those children they trucked in for "read-ins" at City Hall were unwittingly supporting our spiraling pension costs and opaque city contracts, which city Democrats are loath to address.
NEWS
June 15, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - Gov. Christie on Monday suggested that he wasn't ready to support a proposal to revise New Jersey tax policy, including a hefty gas tax hike and phaseout of a levy on estates of the deceased. His remarks came as a coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers - backed by organized labor, business, and other groups - heralded the plan as game-changing legislation that would fund critical investments in roads and bridges while also saving taxpayers about $1 billion annually through other policy changes.
NEWS
June 13, 2016 | By Tricia L. Nadolny and Julia Terruso, STAFF WRITERS
Consensus was close, but fragile. On the day Philadelphia City Council would vote on Mayor Kenney's proposed tax on sugary drinks, freshman Councilman Allan Domb found he had become a crucial swing vote. A numbers man who, as partner in a high-end restaurant chain had a personal stake in the outcome, Domb was on board - but at 1.25 cents per ounce. Kenney wanted higher. The mayor sent his financial team to Domb's office. After poring over the math, Domb locked in his vote - for 1.5 cents - and held to it in the hours to come, even as beverage lobbyists did their best to undo it. "We were having individual conversations" during the final hours before the vote, Kenney said Friday.
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