Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Taxes Revisited

What if we looked at some hidden taxes?

Taxes Revisited

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Ya know, there's some taxes out there the state could collect without really ticking off a lot of people to help attack that $4 billion or more deficit.

BE: Taxes. Grrr.

JB: No, really. There's a bunch of stuff the state exempts that impacts only a few, whereas taxing such stuff could help the greater good. Eddie tried to do this last year but, as he once said, Republicans wouldn't raise taxes if it would cure cancer.

BE: OK, gimme some examples.

JB: Well, I reviewed a list of 74 sales tax exemptions and what they mean in terms of state dollars lost and in no time I got to more than $500 million.

BE: Big number. But, again, like what?

JB: Candy and gum. Not good for us to begin with. Not really a necessity. Would almost be a sin tax. Gets us $110 million.

BE: Impressive. What else should we tax?

JB: Pro sports tickets. What percentage of the state's 12 million citizens go to pro games anyway? And if you can afford to, you can afford to pay the sales tax. Gets $71 million more.

BE: I'm starting to believe.

JB: Dry cleaning/laundry services. Practically a luxury. Worth another $65 million.

BE: Go on.

JB: The catch-all called "personal care services." Gotta mean stuff only people with personal wealth pay for. Worth $137 million. Or how about taxing catalogues and direct mail? Who needs `em? Who wants `em? Let `em pay. Brings in $131 million.

BE: You're on a roll.

JB: Airline food. Is there anything worse? Tax it. $3.4 million. Or how about the sale of horses to anywhere out of state? Anybody who owns or buys horses can probably afford a sales tax. Worth $3.8 million.

BE: Let me check your math...Wow! It's more than $500 million.

JB: Yep. And that could save some cops' and firefighters' jobs or services for those truly in need.

BE: Except Corbett says he won't raise any taxes.

JB: Which is why I suggest he might want to revisit that. Grrrr.

 

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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