Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Councilman To Introduce Bill To Tax Some Tobacco Products

Councilman Darrell Clarke plans to introduce legislation on Thursday to tax some tobacco products in the city. He said the tax would be levied as part of a business’ gross receipts tax and could raise $6 million annually.

Councilman To Introduce Bill To Tax Some Tobacco Products

Councilman Darrell Clarke plans to introduce legislation on Thursday to tax some tobacco products in the city. He said the tax would be levied as part of a business’ gross receipts tax and could raise $6 million annually.

That amount isn’t nearly enough to plug the projected $150 million budget hole, but Clarke said every little bit helps. The bill would impact cigars, chewing tobacco and rolling papers -- but not cigarettes, he said.

"An overwhelming majority of council members will support this measure," Clarke said. "It’s at a point where we’re trying to find any measures we can find consensus on."

Nutter proposed an annual $300 per household trash fee and a 2 cent per ounce tax on sugary beverages to close the projected $150 million budget gap. The “soda tax” -- which the administration is also billing as a public health initiative -- would be charged as part of retailer’s business tax and they could pass it on to consumers.

Already, Council seems to have rejected the trash fee plan. Many members prefer a proposal by Councilman Frank DiCicco to raise property taxes by 12 percent, which would raise the same amount of revenue.

Council has also raised concerns about the soda tax, which has drawn harsh criticism from soft drinks manufacturers, teamsters and retailers, who argue that the tax could cost jobs and may not be directly passed on to soda anyway.
 

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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