Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pennsylvania in focus: Highway user-fee pilot program coming to Pennsylvania

By Watchdog News - August 09, 2017 at 07:20AM

The Patriot News: Highway user-fee pilot program coming to Pennsylvania, Delaware

When Pennsylvania passed Act 89 in 2013 to fund a host of highway and transportation infrastructure needs, it continued a long tradition of funding those programs via the use of a tax on fuel, paid for by motorists.

But at the time, even as the state’s legislature voted to enact the tax increase, there was discussion among transportation planners and policy folk as to what would come next — reasoning that in an era of ever increasing fuel milage (not to mention hybrid and purely electric cars) the gas tax could probably not be relied upon forever.

One of the alternatives most discussed was for a so-called use-tax, or charging drivers a fee based upon the miles they drive annually, somewhat similar in concept to the tolling system of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The earliest tests of such a system have been out on the west coast — Oregon began testing a program in which volunteers were assessed 1.5-cents per mile in 2015, and both Washington and California were slated to begin testing similar programs this year.

Now the idea is headed to the east coast, where a very limited test of a milage-based fee will take place in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

ABC 6: Customers charged Philadelphia beverage tax at Delco fast food restaurant

If you recently dined at the Wendy’s restaurant in Ridley Park, and you ordered a soda, you might want to check your receipt.

Apparently, a software glitch caused the cash registers to add a beverage tax to customers’ bills.

One has been making the rounds on social media where it reads .45 cents was added to the check.

The problem is that the surcharge should only be applied in the city of Philadelphia and this Wendy’s is in Delaware County.

State Impact: Business groups slam energy tax proposal

A coalition of Pennsylvania business groups is pushing back against legislation that would raise energy taxes.

A bill approved last month by the Republican-controlled state Senate imposes a new severance tax on natural gas production, and a new gross receipts tax on natural gas consumers.  On Tuesday a coalition of seven business and energy trade groups held a conference call with reporters to denounce the measure, which is now before the House.

“If this Senate proposal is enacted, natural gas will be taxed at four different points,” says Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President Gene Barr. “With an impact fee– or impact tax– at the drilling, with an extraction severance tax when that product is taken out of the ground. The third point will be when it’s utilized by the end-user– either residential, commercial, or industrial. If you’re a company in the natural gas business and you happen to make money after all this, then that income will be taxed as well.”