You can’t put a price on love, but you can put a price on finding it…and in Pennsylvania, it’s not cheap.
Taxes, regulations, and government overreach are known to unnecessarily increase the cost of living. Pa.’s average tax burden is above the national average (ranking 15th in the country). But Pennsylvanians have long felt the impact of higher taxes in ways that go far beyond filing your taxes, and indeed into matters of the heart...like the cost of a date.
Chart: Average Cost of a Date
The above map outlines the average cost of a date, as measured by the total cost of wine, dinner, and movies for two. Pennsylvania, while not the most expensive, is well above the national average with an average date total of $193.94. This puts Pa. as the ninth most expensive state to date.
As if dating in the age of Tinder wasn’t hard enough.
Chart: Average Income
This cost is proportionately much higher when accounting for the average income of the state, which is $56,951 or the 22nd highest.
Of course, Pennsylvania’s tax burden isn’t the only type of government overreach that impacts the high cost of courting in our state.
The dating beverage of choice—wine—is priced artificially high in Pennsylvania because of the state monopoly on wine sales. When you pretend to reach for the bill, here’s what you won’t see: For a restaurant to serve wine, it first must have a state–issued license. Theoretically, a restaurant can convert their existing restaurant license into a liquor license for a tidy fee of $30,000. However, thanks to a quota on such licenses, some restaurant owners have had to pay over $150,000 at state auctions. These fees work like a tax by increasing operating costs that are then partially passed on to consumers in the form of higher beverage prices. (So maybe split the bill on this one.)
Comprehensive tax reform, privatizing liquor sales, and lifting the quota on liquor licenses will all go a long way in reducing prices and increasing affordability. With these changes, residents can not only fall in love in Pennsylvania but with it as well.
This is part of a series about the needlessly high cost of living in Pennsylvania. Click here to learn how high taxes and regulations impact nearly everything…including brunches.