Harrisburg – For the second straight year, Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed a state budget with massive tax increases, unsustainable spending and no mention of pension reform, according to Senator Pat Stefano (R-32), who said Pennsylvania simply cannot afford to pay for it.
The Governor proposes $3.6 billion in tax hikes to support his $33.28 billion spending plan for 2016-2017. The tax hikes include a 10.7% increase in the state Personal Income Tax, from a rate of 3.07% to 3.4%, an expansion of the state Sales Tax to include cable bills and other items, and a new tax on fire, property and casualty insurance.
Under the Governor’s plan, the PIT increase would be retroactive to January 1, 2016, meaning taxpayers will owe an extra six months in back tax payments if the budget is enacted June 30.
“Simply put, this would take more and more money from families and job-creators who can’t afford to pay and have made it clear that his tax increases have no support,” Stefano said. “There is no reason to believe that taxpayers will now suddenly embrace Governor Wolf’s new call for massive tax hikes to create a bloated state government bureaucracy.”
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a 3.4% increase in Basic Education funding, but abandons efforts to reform the number-one cause of school cutbacks and school property tax increases: the public pension system.
The proposal includes restoration of the $3.3 billion in aid to schools that Gov. Wolf slashed from the 2015-2016 appropriation passed by the General Assembly in December, in a widely criticized bid to pressure lawmakers into approving his massive tax hikes.
“Governor Wolf again threatened severe cuts and dire consequences if the General Assembly does not approve his massive tax increases,” Stefano said. “If he continues to insist that there are only two ways to address the financial problems facing our Commonwealth, it raises serious questions about his understanding of the budget process and his willingness to consider any ideas other than his own.”
CONTACT: Ben Wren (717) 787-7175