July 11, 2018-
Have Philadelphia and state government ever not been at odds? On the one hand, the state, embodied by both its lawmakers and residents, tends to think of Philadelphia as the place that all the tax money collected in Pennsylvania goes to take care of a crumbling education system and lots of poor people. Meanwhile, the metro area’s contribution to the state’s General Fund far exceeds its share of the population.
That’s why it’s so irritating when the long arm of Harrisburg tries to reach into the city’s ability to govern itself. There’s the state takeover of the school board and the Parking Authority in 2001. Then there are the state’s attempts to preempt Philadelphia from enacting a wage equity bill that passed City Council, regulation of certain gun sales, a living wage, and now this: The state has preempted the city’s right to enact new regulations on tobacco sales. To reduce the prevalence of smoking, the city in 2014 imposed a $2 tax per pack, which was increased to $4.60 per pack in 2016.