Poor tax policy
Poor tax policy
Regarding the news story “Lawmakers think drink tax could save struggling Pennsylvania cities” (Oct. 27 and TribLIVE.com): The proposed expansion of drink taxes beyond Allegheny County and Philadelphia to 21 other municipalities, like most “sin” taxes, is unlikely to raise the revenue its proponents expect while having a negative effect on local businesses.
Relying on sin taxes has proven to be poor tax policy due to being notoriously unreliable and regressive, and because they are often used to prop up increased spending.
Sin taxes often have strong detrimental effects on local small businesses, with consumers seeking to avoid the tax by voting with their feet and buying products outside the city imposing the tax.
Sin taxes should be avoided because they distort the market and encourage unsustainable increases in government spending while placing an unnecessary burden on lower-income taxpayers.
Instead of creating and increasing discriminatory taxes, cities across Pennsylvania should focus on tax reform that lowers rates and puts dollars back into taxpayers' pockets while tightening their own belts by creating new, reasonable limits on spending.
The writer is a senior policy analyst at The Heartland Institute (heartland.org).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Affordable’? Not for him
- Arnold’s garbage
- Pass GMO label bill
- ATI’s broken promises
- PNC: New roles for helpers
- Incumbents’ edge?
- Wanted: Chief assessor
- Wrong on immigration I
- Charge, don’t fine
- Protesters not law-abiding
- Thinly veiled disdain