Philadelphia. A great city strategically placed on the East Coast halfway between New York City and Washington DC.
Yet, it's fiscal crisis has been a fact of life for decades, with no end in sight. Philadelphia is a great paradox, and explaining why takes patience and the willingness to question great assumptions.
Philadelphia. Of the 10 largest cities in the United States, it is the poorest. It has problems such as crumbling infrastructure, ballooning expenses, and struggling schools and neighborhoods. All of the above must be addressed by steady streams of revenue. This is about the choices a city makes.
Yet another revenue gap for the Philadelphia schools is arising, the new mayor of Philadelphia has proposed a tax on sugary drinks – sodas – that will be far above other soda taxes elsewhere. It's expected to raise $300,000,000.
The proposal would pay for many good things. Things the city needs like pre-K programs that would get Philadelphia's struggling children into structured environments to help them grow. Yet a soda tax, is a tax on a liquid asset which, like water, flows to the level where it is most comfortable.
Someday, our elected officials will realize that citizens are not stupid. After the cigarette tax was increased in Philadelphia, cigarette sales dropped which was blamed on people "quitting smoking." Talk about wishful thinking.
In Millbourne Pennsylvania alone 3 cigarette stores opened within 6 months of the tax hike. New Jersey liquor stores started to advertise their cheaper cigarettes at the bottom of each bridge from Philly.
Tax evasion is a crime, but tax avoidance is a sport. And every American loves to play it!
The only people who could possibly suffer are in town distributors, and people in poor neighborhoods who won't be able to walk or drive across city borders to buy their sugary drinks, and the programs this tax is meant to fund.
Sensible proposals over the past 25 years have concluded that local taxing of wages, sales and other things that can move is counterproductive. Tax things that are unmovable, especially land value. For once, the city will get taxes from people who can truly afford to pay, and who currently glom off everybody else that works, produces, and invests.