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Corbett To Propose Gas Tax Increase as Transpo Funding Fix

Tom Corbett portrait loresFacing one of his biggest challenges yet as Governor, Tom Corbett has elected a pragmatic rather than partisan approach to transportation funding. The Associated Press reports that Corbett will unveil his long awaited plan next week.

At its core: a $2 billion increase in the taxes paid by gas stations. Corbett supports lifting a cap on the oil company franchise tax, meaning the wholesale cost of gasoline will go up.

The AP cited two sources familiar with the plan and Corbett has yet to officially confirm any details.

Lifting the cap was the primary funding mechanism proposed by Corbett’s transportation commission in 2011.

If and when he does, he may emphasize the fact that he is removing a cap on the taxes. But the reality is that it effectively will be a tax increase – and potentially a stark departure from his campaign’s no-tax pledge.

Corbett’s decision to take the lead on the matter will give political cover to GOP members of the state legislature. That’s important because any tax increase will be a tough sell to the Republican base.

Conservative activist Bob Guzzardi has spoken favorably of a potential primary challenge to Corbett by Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor. He lambasted the news Thursday in an email.

“PA already has one of the highest liquid fuels tax rates in the country. If Corbett succeeds with his scheme, $4-per-gallon gas could well be on its way!” he wrote. “The Governor has plenty of options at his disposal to fix roads and bridges without reaching into our pockets, such as Public-Private Partnerships, selling the liquor stores, cutting wasteful spending such as the bailout of Big Hollywood, clipping the wings of the costliest legislature in the world, which makes 10 times the salary of lawmakers in Texas, abolishing prevailing wage, and more.”

But many policy analysts have disputed the proposition that Pa.’s aging transportation infrastructure could be improved with less than a significant investment – and corresponding tax increase.

It’s also a plan that stands a strong chance of attracting Democratic support (though their gubernatorial candidate may just as easily campaign against the move in 2014).

Jon Geeting is a liberal commentator with the site Keystone Politics. He had rare, kind words for Corbett.

“I want to see the actual plan before praising Tom Corbett, but if what Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden are reporting is true, I’ll be impressed,” he wrote.

“This seems like a trial balloon to get a preview of how bad the backlash will be from various corners, so for what it’s worth let me register my approval of the idea.”

15 Responses

  1. I think they ought to investigate the gov and find out where all that money goes and start prosecuting these bums that are ruining our beautiful state !!

  2. maybe they need to look at HOW they are spending their current money at PenDot… We watched them moving a mountain from one location to another 2 years ago… (most likely to spend their budget) and then they claim they don’t have money to do important work… (also they put in new overview/scenic sites while they have other existing ones closed because they can’t pay to maintain them… talk about waste in gov. Where are the oversight groups that monitor this kind of wasteful spending when people are losing their homes…

  3. Corbett and Sandusky is all that really needs to be said, too bad we can’t get him locked up for his negligence. Of course Tommy boy is anti fed so who’s going to pay the bills? That’s right friends, you and me.

  4. For the record, the reliable Joe Sterns wrote the email I sent. I totally agree.

    Tom Corbett incurred $4.6 billion in new debt and none of it went to roads or bridges. Millions went to politically connected billionaire businesses and left wing nonprofits.

  5. GAS TAX?! When I first saw the headline I thought gas- as in natural gas. I was shocked! That would be a revenue source that could help pay for overdue infrastructure repairs without harming the average Pennsylvanian. But no such change of heart on Corbetts part. He is still dancing with who brung him.
    Well, I guess loyalty IS a virtue.

  6. Why is there an assumption that infastructure projects, badly needed in this great Commonwealth, are union jobs? It is possible that non-union contractors will get some of this work and maybe even pay the previaling wage. Construction workers work season to season, check to check, feast to famine and are hunters, gun owners and vote, too. Lets get going with road and bridge repairs and improvements. I knew people who said in the 1960s that they would never live to see the completion of the USRt222 project in southwest Berks County. The project was completed 40+ years later and they were right.

  7. I don’t understand how the Corbett hating Republicans can even think about Castor…esp. when it comes to taxes. Castor voted to raise taxes in MontCo – along with teaming up with the new Dem majority much more than he ever did with his fellow Republicans.

    Castor cares only about Castor… and is using any true conservative who is supporting him. Ask anyone who has worked with him in MontCo.

  8. Sandusky and New Taxes can only push Tom Corbett’s numbers lower. The more I see; the more likely a Republican Primay or, the Establishment gets scared enough to replace him with someone who might win.

    “closing a loophole” that raises takes to build union projects. If the Gov and legislature were serious about real infrastruture repair, they could have used Capital Budget’s $4.6 billion in new borrowing for infrastructure rather than union, big buisness and liberal nonprofit pork.

    Chet royer makes a good point.

  9. Keegan,

    get your facts straight. this is just closing a loophole in the original law. the flat excise tax is staying the same. its amazing how little research reporters do…..

  10. This a practical common sense solution to the problem. We should do more to tax consumption as opposed to income. Building roads and bridges will help solve our economy’s problems as opposed to more transfer payments, which is Obama’s approach. We have to be concerned about the debt that we are leaving our children and grandchildren.

  11. “This is a jobs bill (stimulus) at the taxpayer’s expense.” From an email be me from grassroots activist Everette Hamilton reprinted with his permission.

    Raising taxes violates a core promise to grassroots. This is not going to help him in a Republican primary. RedState taxpayers will be funding union built and prevailing wage projects. The Forgotten Taxpayer is not happy.

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