The good news is that Mayor Kenney's proposed minimum wage increase, announced Wednesday, won't cause as much job loss as Seattle's did because it's limited to government employees and contractors. Unlike the private sector, the city doesn't have to lay off a whole bunch of people to be able to pay more to the ones who are left. They can raise taxes and fees.
That means Kenney needs to find some easy targets from which to confiscate $20 million to cover the cost. Here are a few ideas:
Kenney cashes in at $218,000 a year. Pretty sweet, right? He's one of the top five highest-paid mayors in America, where the average salary is about $125,000.
With about 2,000 city workers affected, Kenney could reduce his salary to the $125,000 median and each worker would get an extra $46.50. Hmmm … let's look for more….
He could tax soft drinks! Whoops. Already did that, driving tax-paying jobs out of Philly — hundreds, according to a study by the American Beverage Association.
Ah! Kenney could reclassify all hourly city workers as "interns" and instantly save about $976,000, as he famously chooses not to pay interns.
Good luck to any private enterprise helping high school or college interns learn skills or business without paying them, as federal law dictates businesses had better not have those interns actually do any learning by doing anything an employee could do. If a business does this, the hammer of the feds will come crashing down on it! It's no coincidence lawmakers who created these laws carve out a little sweet spot for themselves to evade this.
Everyone loves parking in Philly, right? It's so affordable. They could raise the meter rates, but that's thinking small, like halving the mayor's salary. Still, how about a bunch of meters in the middle of Broad Street? That could bring in a hundred grand, right?
OK. We're at $1,169,000.
Let's go right to those lousy, rotten, no-good drivers who violate the rules of the road.
The 2017 Philadelphia Parking Authority annual report states Philly brought in only $174,000 in tickets, fines, and fees. Slackers! Certainly this progressive leadership can double that by fining people everyone hates … like people who park in handicapped parking spots!
Do you know the fine for parking in a handicapped spot is $301? Kenney could triple that with no political cost.
Now, how about plastic straws? Ignore the fact that straws and bags account for less than 1 percent of plastic waste entering the oceans … there's a media frenzy over them, so tax 'em.
Kenney could raise the city wage tax from 4 percent to 5 percent.
Then he could raise taxes on the minimum-wage earners who just got a raise.
Wait. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale reported in December 2017 that over the last five years, the city has failed to collect more than $100 million in parking tickets, fines, and fees. All they have to do is go and collect them and the funding problem is solved.
Now that we have that solved, grab your grocery list and head to Delaware for tax-free shopping.