October 17, 2014 |
Smokers who figured they could escape Philadelphia's recently enacted $2-per-pack cigarette tax by switching to e-cigarettes could be in for a letdown. City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said Thursday that she would introduce legislation that would put a $2 tax on e-cigarettes and a tax on the liquid nicotine they use - with the levy going directly to the underfunded Philadelphia school district. "When we know our school district is starving for revenue," Brown said Wednesday, "every penny counts.
October 16, 2014
THE IDEA OF abolishing the School Reform Commission and replacing it with an elected board has recently dominated the conversation about Philadelphia's schools. Most local politicians, the teachers union and even Democratic candidate for governor Tom Wolf favor returning the schools to local control after almost 13 years of state oversight. Whether it happens remains to be seen. The SRC was created by state law and it will take a change in state law to undo it. Presumably that debate can begin next year after the new governor and Legislature are sworn in. Before we get to that point, it's worth thinking about the idea and its implications.
October 16, 2014 |
A TAX PREPARER who falsely listed foster and disabled kids as dependents on clients' tax returns, defrauding the IRS of millions of dollars, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday. Dauda Koroma, 42, worked at Medmans Financial Services in Southwest Philly. He was one of nine people charged in the case. "I looked out for the client more than the government," Koroma, a citizen of Sierra Leone, told U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis shortly before he entered a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy, filing false tax returns, fraud and aggravated identity theft.
October 15, 2014 |
While national political attention is fixed on the tense South Jersey race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan, a sideshow on the ballot may pack a bigger punch for Burlington County voters. The outcome of the battle between Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur for a seat in the House is not expected to change the Republican hold on that chamber. But the results of the less-noisy contest lower on the ballot could end the GOP's nearly four decades of control over the county's governing body.
October 9, 2014
HOW ABOUT some tax talk? Wait, wait, don't leave. This is important, or could be. It's a big part of the governor's race and likely to be a focus of the final debate in Pittsburgh tonight. Republican Gov. Corbett says he should be re-elected for keeping taxes low and because Democrat Tom Wolf will raise taxes - without saying how much. Wolf argues Corbett's management and tax policy hurt education, job creation and state fiscal ratings. Wolf says he just wants to make taxes fairer.
October 4, 2014 |
TRENTON A New Jersey legislative panel on Thursday advanced a bill that would prohibit the state from awarding contracts or incentives to companies that reincorporate overseas for the purpose of avoiding U.S. taxes. The move comes as the federal government has sought to crack down on so-called inversions, in which companies restructure abroad without moving their headquarters. A number of U.S. companies, such as Burger King, in recent months have moved to buy firms in other countries so they can incorporate there and lower their tax bills in the U.S. This practice "does our whole economic structure a disservice," Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D., Burlington)
October 4, 2014 |
The tax code is usually better than any pharmaceutical product or a glass of milk for inducing sleep. Tax inversions, however, are still a point of contention where business meets public policy. Thursday brought more debate. Legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett began the day answering questions in New York about his patriotism because of the perception that such foreign acquisitions hurt Americans for the sake of corporate profits. Heather Bresch, CEO of Pittsburgh-based generic drugmaker Mylan, walked into a Philadelphia gathering and tersely declined to talk about them, preferring cancer as a topic.
September 29, 2014 |
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.
September 27, 2014 |
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.
September 26, 2014 |
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.