Sunday, December 28, 2014

Who will pay higher taxes in the new budget plan?

Calculating who will pay what taxes Link: Winners & losers in new budget plan [Daily News]

Who will pay higher taxes in the new budget plan?

Calculating who will pay what taxes

If you are a homeowner, you'll pay less under the new deal than under the old. For example, according to budget data in the city's five-year financial plan, a family making $50,000 annually, would have paid $1,125 in additional taxes under the old budget proposal, and will instead pay $575 under the new plan.

If you don't own a home, you may pay slightly more. Under the old plan at the $50,000 level you would have paid $345 over three years in additional sales taxes. Now you'll pay $575 over five years.

But experts said that additional property taxes could have been passed on to renters through higher rents, so they could have ended up shouldering a portion of the property-tax hikes.

The sales tax in the city is now 7 cents on each dollar, with 6 cents going to the state and 1 cent to the city. Under the budget plan, the city would get 2 cents, which would yield an estimated $580 million in additional revenue over the next five years.

Unlike the property tax, the sales tax affects both residents and nonresidents. Because the tax base is broader, a smaller tax hike is required to generate enough cash for the city.

Still, is the new tax plan worse for the city's poorest residents?

Studies show that the sales tax is a regressive tax that can be disproportionately hard on the poor, because people with lower incomes spend more of their money on items that end up being taxed.

But because food and clothing are not subject to the sales tax, that lessens the impact for the city's poor residents, said Uri Monson, executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.

"It's negligibly regressive," Monson said. "Those are the primary-need purchases."

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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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