Ad People, You’ve Got A Tax In Pennsylvania

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, ad agencies in PA are trying to fend off a proposed tax on advertising. It’s already passed in the state house, and If passed in the Senate and signed into law, Pennsylvania would be the only state that has an ad tax.

“A tax on advertising and public relations services through Senate Bill 854 would have a severe, negative impact on both agencies in Pennsylvania and the overall state economy,” said Peter Madden, president of AgileCat, a Manayunk ad agency. “Our representatives in Harrisburg should be taking steps to attract businesses to work with Pennsylvania-based agencies, stimulating the economy, not driving them away from us and hurting everyone in the process.”
To fight the proposal, Marc Brownstein, president of Brownstein Group in Center City, volunteered staffers to create a billboard campaign. He also led an e-mail drive targeting elected officials.
“We emphasized the potential loss of jobs, as clients may reduce advertising spending, which impacts agency income,” Brownstein said.
Ad agencies would not be the only industry affected.
Media organizations would be affected as well, since companies would have to pay sales tax on advertising purchased. For example, buying a $2,000 advertisement would mean an additional $120 in state sales tax.

So are we to consider an advertising tax a “sin tax,” the way liquor and ciagrettes are highly taxed? Has anyone seen the above-mentioned billboards?

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.