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The Philly Beverage Tax is under attack!

Allegheny County Republican State Rep. Mark Mustio has introduced legislation to preempt local governments anywhere in Pennsylvania from enacting any taxes on food or beverage. The bill, H.B. 2241, is clearly aimed at killing the Philly Beverage Tax.

 

The Facts

This is Not Harrisburg’s Fight

The Beverage Tax was enacted nearly two years ago in Philadelphia, by local leaders, to address local problems in Philadelphia schools and neighborhoods. There is no reason for the Legislature to get involved in a local controversy.

Be Careful What You Wish For

This bill attacks the right of local communities that are trying to solve their own problems. Since pre-emption would eliminate $80 million in annual local revenue generated by the tax last year, legislators will be pressured to fill that funding hole;

Pre-emption is A Slippery Slope

After food and beverage, what’s next: Pre-emption to ban local school districts from raising the taxes needed to operate public schools? Or how about a bill to ban a local government’s decision to update local sewer, water or roads? Pre-emption has the potential to lure legislators into a morass of difficult local issues that are best left to local governments.

The Beverage Tax is Working

Expanded High-quality pre-K for over 2,000 children, which in turn has created 250 living wage jobs in early childhood education. The City and the School District have collaborated on the creation of 11 Community Schools. The Rebuild Initiative, a $500 million effort to renovate/repair/replace rec centers, libraries, and park equipment, is ready for full implementation. BUT, none of these initiatives can reach their full potential until the lawsuit is resolved.

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The Beverage Tax is a local Philadelphia solution that generates local funds to pay for vital local programs. Legislators should be focused on the Commonwealth’s financial challenges without having to get involved in an otherwise strictly local fight. If legislators choose to do so, they will also inherit the need to fill the funding gap caused by pre-empting the Beverage Tax.

Call your state legislator and tell them that the Beverage Tax is working! It was enacted by local government to address local issues, and it’s not right for a legislator from clear across the state to impose his views on local citizens.

Your support and your call can make a difference. Stand up for Philadelphia!