Council Bill Would Extend 1-Cent Sales Tax

Revenue would shore up schools, underfunded pensions.

The Inquirer reports that City Council has introduced a bill to extend a temporary 1-cent sales tax, this time to shore up underfunded schools and the city’s faltering pension system.

In the first year, the bill would devote $120 million to the schools, money the district has been counting on to help close a huge funding gap. Any extra revenue would go to the public-employee pension system, which is about $5 billion underfunded.

But over the next three years, the pension system’s share of the revenue generated by the additional penny in the sales tax — which in 2015 is expected to bring in an extra $137 million – would steadily increase, until the fourth year, when it would be split evenly between the schools and the city.

The plan needs approval from the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly.