Since when did Philly go 'tax-free'?


So I’m walking along the Boardwalk in Wildwood when I see this billboard, hanging above Lime Ricky, at Oak Ave.

It’s sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, which recently launched its fun “With Love, Philadelphia XOXO” marketing campaign to pull tourists into the city.
Cute ad, right? Except it had me wondering:

Since when does Philly have tax-free shopping?

I just paid a bunch of tax on the stove we bought to replace the busted, 30-year-old Hotpoint. Ditto on the supplies I purchased for my kid’s sleepaway camp. I forked over 7% tax on the Father’s Day cards I gave my dad and my husband. And – whoa – did we ever get tax-socked on our new car.

So I called GPTMC to ask: Am I missing something?

“Clothes and shoes aren’t taxed,” said spokesman Eric Cortes.

But clothes and shoes aren’t the only things that people, let alone tourists, “shop” for. They also shop for household goods, furniture, toiletries, prepared foods, souvenirs, tickets to sporting and cultural events, restaurant meals and on and on and on.

The place for real tax-free shopping, of course, is Delaware, which heavily promotes its tax-free status (even cars and cab rides are tariff-free).

So I contacted the state’s office of economic development to gauge reaction to the GPTMC’s “tax free” claim.

“I can understand where they’re coming from,” said Dina Reider-Hicks, the department’s director of marketing and development. “Most people think of clothes and shoes when they think of shopping. But it might be seen as a little misleading.”

Me, I think it’s disingenuous, at best, to imply that shoppers won’t be hit with Philly’s hefty 7% tax sales tax (plus, possibly, a temporary, extra penny-per-sales-transaction, if our mayor has his way)  when they open their wallets here.