By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
HARRISBURG – It has been said there is nothing as permanent as a temporary tax.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly proved that idiom true on Monday night.
The state House voted 119-83 to extend indefinitely a 1 percent local sales tax for Philadelphia, which was enacted in 2009 and was scheduled to be phased out at the end of 2013. The revenue will be used to give $120 million annually to schools in the city.
The permanent extension of the sales tax, which is counted on top of a 6 percent state sales tax and an additional 1 percent city sales tax, was included in the state tax code bill, a kind of instruction manual that moves along with the state budget bill. The bill goes to the state Senate for a final vote that could come on Tuesday.
The bill also included a proposal to close the so-called “Delaware loophole” by giving the state Department of Revenue greater leeway to audit companies believed to be moving revenues across state lines in order to reduce their tax bill.
“For years, we have heard about the need to close the Delaware loophole and today we can finally say that we have reached that goal,” said state Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana, who led the charge on the Delaware loophole issue in the House.
It also continued the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, which is paid by businesses on their physical assets. The tax will generate an estimated $58 million for the state next year.
That tax was supposed to be eliminated on Jan. 1 2014, but Gov. Tom Corbett agreed to extend the phase-out for another two years in order to general more cash for Pennsylvania’s underfunded public pensions. The tax is now scheduled to sunset on Jan. 1, 2016.
In a separate bill, the state House voted 104-98 to give $45 million to Philadelphia schools to be paid for with a federal grant program.
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