Constitutionality of Philadelphia's soda tax debated before Commonwealth Court in Pittsburgh

Constitutionality of Philadelphia's soda tax debated before Commonwealth Court in Pittsburgh

Commonwealth Court heard arguments over Philadelphia’s 1.5 cents per ounce tax on sweetened beverages in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a city ordinance that became effective January 1. 

The American Beverage Association, The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, along with several Philadelphia businesses and consumers filed suit against the tax to in September, stating that it is in violation of the state constitution. 

A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge rejected their arguments and dismissed their case, resulting in the immediate appeal heard by a full panel Commonwealth Court Wednesday. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017/Author: Alanna Koll
Grove bill would remove sales tax on some Christmas trees

Grove bill would remove sales tax on some Christmas trees

Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) announced this week his intention to reintroduce a proposal from last session that would exempt the sale of Christmas trees sold by tree farms from the Pennsylvania sales tax.

 

Titling the bill “Don’t be a Scrooge”—after the Christmas curmudgeon in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—Rep. Grove noted Christmas trees sold by tree farms are one of the few agricultural products subject to the sales tax.

Thursday, December 15, 2016/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf: “I think the sales tax really needs to be brought up to date”

Gov. Wolf: “I think the sales tax really needs to be brought up to date”

Gov. Tom Wolf commented on the progress of the state budget during an interview on KDKA 1020AM Thursday morning and he reasserted prior comments that a final budget product is close to the finish line.

“We’re almost there,” he said. “There’s some things to work out…so we’re continuing to work through that last ten percent, but I think all of us really want to get this done.”

While—like all those leading the budget discussions—was short on detail, the governor did say that the budget will include historic things like the largest increase in education funding.

The governor also discussed the oft-bandied-about issue of eliminating some sales tax exemptions, saying “I think the sales tax really needs to be brought up to date.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Budget framework in peril? Depends on who you ask

Budget framework in peril? Depends on who you ask

Gov. Tom Wolf made no bones about it. Speaking at the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon Monday, he said the budget framework announced just a few short weeks ago is in serious jeopardy.

"Unfortunately, that work looks it is in peril. Deep peril," he said. "The Republicans have been unable to muster the votes they need to transform this agreed-upon framework into a real budget."

The votes he was talking about concern the component of the framework that would raise the state sales tax an additional 1.25 percent across the Commonwealth, to be dedicated to providing property tax relief to homeowners and farmers.

As part of that exchange, the property tax and rent rebate program currently in place using gaming revenues for funding would be eliminated, and the gaming funds—to the tune of $600 million—would be dedicated to the General Fund to offset rising public pension costs.

"[L]ate last week Republican leaders told me that they didn’t have the votes to deliver on property tax relief," he said. "In other words, the framework was not going to become a budget. I deeply regret this. We had within our grasp a budget framework that would have been transformational."

Monday, November 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Hope fading for a Thanksgiving budget?

As the budget framework Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders announced last week continues to take shape, some involved with crafting a plan to end Pennsylvania’s nearly five-month long budget stalemate were lowering expectations Monday that the impasse could be finally broken by Thanksgiving as first hoped.

“I’m hoping we can do it sooner [than December], I was hoping before Thanksgiving,” Gov. Wolf said to PJ Maloney on KQV radio Monday morning.

However, the governor later said that projections made earlier by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) of a December budget might be “more realistic.”

“We want to do it soon, quickly,” he said.

Monday, November 16, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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