Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pennsylvania's hilarious tax exemptions

Helicopters, trout and burial caskets — those are three of the items Gov. Rendell proposed taxing in his budget address today.

Pennsylvania's hilarious tax exemptions


Helicopters, trout and burial caskets — those are three of the items Gov. Rendell proposed taxing in his budget address today.

As part of his plan to help cover rising pension costs and the loss of federal stimulus money, the governor wants to repeal 74 sales tax exemptions.

Though he wouldn’t institute taxes on essential items like food and clothing, Rendell argued for a new sense of rationality in the state tax code. Right now, he observed, moviegoers buy candy tax free but pay sales tax on popcorn.

To offset the increases, Rendell also proposed lowering the state sales tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent.

After the jump, the full list of good and services that would be newly taxed if Rendell's proposal passed.

There are indeed some hilarious exemptions. Our personal favorite might be fish feed.

Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services

Administrative services

Advertising, public relations & related services

Air transportation

Airline Catering

All other professional and technical services

Amusement & recreation industries

Architectural, engineering, & related services

Bad Debts

Basic television

Call Center Credit

Candy and Gum

Caskets and Burial Vaults

Catalogs and Direct Mail Advertising

Charges for Returnable Containers


Coin Operated Food and Beverage Vending Machines

Commercial Vessels (Construction & Repair)

Commercial Vessels (Equipment, Maintenance)

Common Carriers

Construction of Memorials

Consulting (scientific, environmental, & technical)

Custom programming, design & data processing

Dry-cleaning & laundry services

Electric – Residential

Electrical, plumbing, heating & AC service fees

Financial Institutions Fees


Fish Feed


Fuel Oil/Gas – Residential

Funeral parlors, crematories & death care services



Horses Sold to Out of State Purchasers

Hotel-Permanent Resident

Information services

Investment Metal Bullion & Investment Coins


Liquor or Malt Beverage Purchased From Retail Dispenser


Mfg. Exemption (Public Utility)

Motor Vehicles (Out-of-State Purchases)

Museums, historical sites, zoos, & parks For-Profit


Non-Prescription Drugs

Other transportation

Other: personal services

Parking lots & garages

Personal care services

Personal Hygiene Products

Rail Transportation Equipment

Recreational parks, camps & campgrounds

Rental of Films for Commercial Exhibition

School Buses

Scientific research & development services

Services to Buildings and Dwellings

Specialized design

Spectator sports admissions (excludes schools)

Stair Lift Devices

Telephone – Residential

Temporary Usage


Theater, dance, music & performing arts admissions For-Profit

Tourist Promotion Agencies

Transit & ground transportation


Truck transportation

Uniform Commercial Code Filing Fees

Veterinary fees

Warehouse Storage

Waste management and remediation services

Water and Sewage Services

Wrapping and Packing Supplies

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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