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This Pa. House bill would prevent local solutions to local problems | Opinion

May 21, 2018

PA Live,

William Peduto, Rich Fitzgerald and Jim Kenney,

May 18, 2018-

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives  is expected to give second consideration to a measure that should be of concern to every municipality in the Commonwealth — particularly cities and towns that try to find solutions to their own challenges, without seeking help from Harrisburg. Legislation (HB2241) sponsored by Rep. Mark Mustio, R-Allegheny, seeks to bar local communities across Pennsylvania from implementing local fees or taxes on the distribution of food and beverages.

Specifically, the bill would kill the Philadelphia Beverage Tax — a program that was enacted to fund free, quality preschool education for children; expand community schools in high-needs neighborhoods; and a capital improvement program for the City’s parks, recreation centers, and libraries. The needs of the residents of Philadelphia and Allegheny County may not always be aligned: neither Allegheny County nor the City of Pittsburgh are seeking a beverage tax, for instance. But all three operate under Home Rule, a key principle of which is local control and the independence to make important decisions that affect citizens right where they live.

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