Potentially bad news for those of you who like to smoke, drink and generally have a good time in the city of Philadelphia. In an effort to raise an estimated $90 million for city schools, Mayor Nutter recently proposed some hefty taxes that would bring us just a bit closer to the tax wonderland that is New York.
The specifics of his plan include a rise from 10 to 15% on bar tabs and an extra $2 tax on packs of cigarrettes (bringing them to about $9, according to my own estimate). He also intends to actually collect taxes owed to the Philly School District, which could amount to an added $28 million.
School officials have been seeking to plug a gaping, $60 million hole in their budget, so Mayor Nutter’s new “fun tax” (as were calling it) would surpass that amount by around $30 million.
While the proposal is enjoying support from Harrisburg, Councilman Kenney points out that tobacco lobbyists will likely seek to squash the cig tax, “I’m not a fan of the cigarette industry, but I know, like all industries that have large amounts of lobbyists and a keen interest in not being taxed anymore, I suspect, they are going to fight it.” According to NewsWorks, Council President Darrell Clarke is also concerned that the extra windfall may stymie future funding from Harrisburg.
Adding to their concerns is the fact that this entire plan needs to be enacted by June, when the city’s budget proposal is due, which means this just may be your last tax free summer.