When most of us hear the word “tax,” we immediately think “IRS.” It’s natural to associate those three-letter words with each other (even if “IRS” is an acronym and not a word). But our friends at the IRS are hardly the only tax collectors with their hands out for your money. State and local governments need love money too, and they don’t have as many options for raising it as Uncle Sam. So every now and then, someone makes headlines with a plan to tax something new.
Philadelphia’s incoming mayor Jim Kenney is the latest local official to propose quenching his city’s fiscal thirst with a new tax. His inaugural budget would impose a three cents per ounce tax on soda, juices, iced tea, and other sugary drinks. The mayor claims the measure would raise $400 million over the next five years. The issue has even bubbled up into the presidential race — Hillary Clinton supports the tax, while her challenger Bernie Sanders condemns it as disproportionately harmful to the city’s poor.Continue reading →