Pennsylvania to consider 25-cent package tax for deliveries

Written by on August 2, 2021

Pennsylvania to consider 25-cent package tax for deliveries

By Megan Frank

August 2, 2021

An Amazon package sits by the mailbox at Jason Goldberg’s apartment, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Chicago. Amazon is making a push to install a device on buzzer systems in apartment buildings throughout the country that allows its delivery drivers to whip out a phone, tap a button and unlock a building’s front doors whenever they need to leave packages in the lobby instead of the street. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

Pennsylvania is considering a 25-cent tax on deliveries from Amazon, FedEx and UPS.

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In 2019, more than 500 million packages were delivered in Pennsylvania. 

That number rose to more than 700 million in 2020.

Chris Ruebeck teaches economics at Lafayette College. He says consumers have embraced online shopping, and Pennsylvania wants to recoup some revenue.

“They’re recognizing the shift towards that type of commerce,” Ruebeck said. “So, maybe we’re shifting the tax burden towards the people who use these services more.”

The state Transportation Revenue Options Commission says the tax could bring in more than $200 million a year. They say the money could fund a mix of transportation projects and fix environmental issues caused by delivery trucks.

PennDOT reported an $8-billion funding shortage this year, partly due to low gas tax revenue during the pandemic. 

“Do we need the tax? Well, we’ve got to maintain the roads, so we’ve got to pay for that, somehow. This is kind of looking forward to that day when maybe the gasoline tax won’t be able to fund all of these services,” Ruebeck said.

The Wolf administration wants to phase out the gas tax. The package tax proposal goes to the governor soon.

No other state in the U.S. has a package tax, but proposals are being discussed in New York City and Colorado. Colorado policymakers want a 25-cent per parcel tax. NYC is trying for a $3-per-box tax.

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