Philadelphia City Council Makes Right Call: Rejects Soda Tax
Yesterday, in a decision applauded by Americans for Tax Reform, the Philadelphia City Council rejected Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s 2-cents-per-ounce sugary-drinks tax proposal. The Council acted in a manner that would have benefited Philadelphia’s economy and taxpayer by voting down the soda tax increase. However before the close of business last night the Council also took a step backwards.
In a move that critics contend will ultimately hurt the Philadelphia economy, council members opted to raise property taxes for a second year in a row. The Council approved a tax increase that would raise property taxes for one year by 3.85 percent. Even before this increase, Philadelphians already paid higher property tax rates than home and business owners in 211 of the 240 townships and boroughs in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties. This is the third property tax increase in the city since 2008.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer said "all of us knew we had to do something. Soda fell flat.” The “something” Councilwoman Brown mentions is a tax increase that will reduce Philadelphians’ disposable income by $100 million in the coming year.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform issued the following statement:
“While I applaud the rejection of the misguided and ill-advised soda tax, the Council still made a move that will ultimately serve as a drag on the local economy by opting to raise property taxes for a second year in a row.
“Councilwoman Brown and Superintendent Ackerman miss the mark when it comes to basic economic principles. Prominent economic advisers of all political stripes suggest higher taxes are bad for the economy. Even economist Mark Zandi, a Democratic economic adviser, recently expressed his concern with tax increases and stated that the economy is still too fragile for tax increases.
“Politicians in Washington, D.C. have already levied over $350 billion in net federal tax increases in just the last two years. It’s unconscionable that Philadelphia city officials, in this fragile economy, saw fit to pile on with more anti-growth tax increases at the state level.”