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No Philly Grocery Tax - June 20, 2016

Coalition response to Grocery Tax Bill Signing

Mayor Kenney signed into law this morning an unconstitutional and regressive tax that will force Philadelphians to pay higher prices in grocery stores, theaters, restaurants and taverns. In response, the Center City law firm of Kline & Specter P.C. has been retained to pursue legal action that will protect working families and small businesses across Philadelphia that can’t afford to pay this tax.

Although Mayor Kenney promised that the money raised from this tax would expand pre-Kindergarten, pay for community schools and fund a reconstruction of city infrastructure, repeated 11th hour revelations showed that tens of millions of hard-earned taxpayer money are instead being spent on totally unrelated items – from padding the city surplus to paying for employee benefits. Less than half of the money collected by this new discriminatory tax will go toward pre-K.

Philadelphians did not get the transparent budget process they deserved.

“For months Mayor Kenney told us the grocery tax was all about the kids, but we learned in the 11th hour that less than half of the money will actually go toward pre-K,” said Carmen Craig, a sixth-grade teacher in Southwest Philadelphia. “This tax was a bait and switch with Philadelphians intentionally left in the dark. “

If permitted to go into effect next year, this tax would have wide-ranging and negative impacts on the small businesses that are the anchors of our community.

“Small restaurants such as mine will bear the brunt of this tax,” said Anne McNally, owner of McNally's Tavern in Chestnut Hill. “My establishment has been a staple of Northwest Philadelphia since 1921 and has given Philadelphia the iconic Schmitter. Restaurants such as mine are the heart and soul of our communities, yet the city is trying to drive them out of business.”

“This unfair tax is bad for businesses like mine, which will need to pass on this cost to customers,” said Michele Recupido, general manager of Center City tavern Locust Rendezvous. “Similarly, it's bad for grocery-store owners, who will lose revenue when customers like me take our shopping to the suburbs.”

Retailers, restaurant and tavern owners, movie theaters and sports stadium concession operators would also have no choice but to pass the tax on to consumers.

“City leaders forgot about the little people like me when they passed the grocery tax,” said Dany Vinas, owner of the CTown supermarket in North Philadelphia. “I’ve worked hard to build my business, and the city keeps making it tougher for small businesses like mine to succeed with all these taxes. This grocery tax is really going to hurt – not only me but my customers who are going to end up paying it.”

“It’s hard enough to succeed as a small business with all the business taxes and the 8 percent sales tax, and now the city is adding another huge tax,” said Steve Klein, co-owner of Klein’s Supermarket. “Our family-owned business operates and on thin margins and will not be able to absorb this tax – we’ll be forced to pass it along to our customers.”

Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax is a broad coalition of more than 30,000 concerned citizens and more than 1,600 businesses owners, movie theaters, and community organizations actively opposing the city's proposed new grocery taxes. To learn more about the Philadelphians Against the Grocery Tax coalition, visit www.NoPhillyGroceryTax.com.

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