After more than six hours of back-and-forth, the State House decided against Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax plans.
Wolf’s tax package fell 29 votes short, with only 73 Democrats voting in favor of the half-percentage increase in the personal income tax and a 3.5% severance tax. Nine Democratic legislators joined the Republicans in voting against the first-year Governor’s proposals. Two Democrats and 1 Republican missed the vote.
Democratic State Sen. Daylin Leach condemned the vote in a statement, saying Wolf’s package was “destined to fail” in the Republican-controlled House.
“Governor Wolf continues to offer compromises while fighting for Pennsylvania’s future, while Republicans cling to their theological adherence to Grover Norquist’s no-revenue pledges and try to come up with new and innovative ways to embarrass Governor Wolf and our Commonwealth,” Leach said.
The Wolf Administration estimated its scaled-back tax plans would raise an additional $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2015-16 and $2.1 billion next year – giving the state enough to pour $400 million back into state education funding.
“Ninety-five percent of the governor’s latest tax proposal will be paid by the working men and women of Pennsylvania. It’s that simple,” Bill Adolph, GOP chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said from the floor.
PA Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason urged state lawmakers to hold meaningful negotiations after 14 weeks of standstill in Harrisburg, while slamming Wolf for the attempted tax hikes.
“For months, Governor Tom Wolf has supported the largest tax hike in the nation. For months, Republicans leaders told Tom Wolf that his tax hikes didn’t have the support of majorities in the State Senate and State House,” Gleason said in a statement. “Now, Tom Wolf’s refusal to recognize the reality of our budget situation has cost our schools and social services millions of dollars.”
With Wolf yet to win over the entire Democratic Party, the budget stalemate looks set to drag into the coming weeks.