Philadelphia set the bar last year when officials added a 1.5 cents-an-ounce to sweetened beverages. It only brought in $78.8 million…$13 million less than they city hoped.
You mean to tell me that when you charge a lot more for pop that people won’t buy it? I’m SHOCKED! Not really. I mean, as a loyal Diet Coke consumer, the tax wouldn’t have pushed me away. But come on. You shouldn’t really rely on a tax on something that people can avoid.
As a result, the city has decreased the number of pre-K seats and community schools it planned to open in the next five years. Instead of expanding the free pre-K program to serve 6,500 children by fiscal year 2023, the city is estimating a maximum of 5,500 seats. The number of projected community schools has also been cut, from 25 to 20. And spending for the Rebuild Initiative to improve parks, libraries, and recreation centers will be scaled back, according to Finance Department officials.
Opponents said that this is proof it’s unsustainable. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided to consider a challenge to the tax so “the city has not yet fully expanded the programs it funds.”
Despite the lack of funds and the court’s decision, those who propped up the tax remain proud of it.
So now what does Philadelphia do? Impose a higher tax to something people cannot avoid: property tax. From NBC Philadelphia:
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney asked City Council on Thursday to pass a 6-percent increase in property taxes to help erase a nearly $1 billion budget deficit projected for the city’s public schools over the next five years.
In total, Kenney asked for roughly $900 million in new funding for city schools during his 2017-2018 budget address. He also wants to halt a planned reduction in the wage tax.
The city formally takes back control of the School District of Philadelphia from the state-run School Reform Commission in July. The SRC, which is dissolving, has run the district for more than 16 years.
Philadelphia has the largest school district in the state and eighth largest in the country:
“Let me tell you, the children of the Philadelphia School District, the real underdogs, are hungry,” Kenney said. “They’re hungry for the one thing that students and families in other parts of this state take for granted: hope. Hope for a better future. I stand here today ready to be held personally accountable for this.”
Kenney’s office hopes the property tax proposal will “eliminate the school district’s deficit by 2024.” A property valued at $113,000 could see the property tax increased by $95 in 2019.DONATE
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