Verna: Sales tax hike will help surrounding counties

City Council President Anna C. Verna this morning said the city's five-year sales tax hike approved today as part of the city budget, would benefit suburban merchants at Philadelphia's expense.

In response to questions about support in the state legislature for the city's proposed one-cent tax hike - from 7 percent to 8 percent - Verna said surrounding counties should favor it because it would help them.

"We’re voting for a tax hike, but at the same time, the surrounding counties would be the beneficiary of the sales tax," she said following this morning's City Council meeting. "Because if you live in Philadelphia and have to buy a large item, and it is taxable, you’re going to go to another county where you may not have to pay that tax."

Other counties charge only the 6 percent state portion of the tax. Philadelphia currently adds one cent to that -- the new proposal, requiring legislature's approval, adds two cents.

Some members of the Philadelphia legislative delegation in Harrisburg have already voiced reservations about the sales tax hike for that very reason. Verna later said that some Philadelphians will travel outside the city right now to save on large items. The tax would not affect automobiles, according to the Nutter administration, because sales tax is based on where a vehicle is registered, not where it is bought.

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