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PA-Gov: Harrisburg Buzzing with Speculation of Wolf’s “Fairer Tax System”

Governor-WolfWith Governor Tom Wolf’s first budget address coming next week, the talk in Harrisburg has intensified.

According to Brad Bumsted of the Tribune-Review, the Gov may be targeting potential increases in some state taxes as well as a significant property tax reduction.

On Tuesday, Wolf met with business leaders but declined to say if would propose increases in the 3.07% income tax or the 6% sales tax to combat the state’s $2.3 billion deficit. However, he said his proposal will be a “fairer tax system.”

Lawmakers and staffers alike are saying a property tax cut, curtailing of sales tax exemptions and a decrease in the 9.9% corporate net income tax could be among the proposal’s trade-offs. These reductions along with an increase in the tax on tobacco may be on the docket.

Earlier this month, the Governor discussed using a 5 percent tax on natural gas extraction as well as expanding Medicaid.

On March 3, Wolf will address his proposal in front of a joint House-Senate session where he believes there will be “surprises for the people in that room.” He declined to speak about a graduated income tax, a proposal he floated during the 2014 campaign.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate believe that pension reform and privatization of alcohol should be considered first.

Wolf has said he would veto any bill selling state stores, like the one moving through the House this week, and downplayed the need for pension reform in his campaign, citing a previously approved bill that needs time to work.

Many in the legislature also assume that Wolf plans to increase education spending. They believe that such a plan, coupled with the task of closing the deficit, would require increases in the income and sales tax.

7 Responses

  1. Despite record breaking budgets, liberals are never satisfied with the amount of other peoples’ money they have to spend on “underfunded” recipients. The Federal government even continues the practice of record-breaking borrowing (much of which is sent to the states) even though Obama called the practice “unpatriotic” when he campaigned. Democrats are so two faced.

  2. Kevin-

    Chill out. There are expenses that the state has. Roads, bridges, education, etc. Stop whining about the taxes to pay for things of value that people use to create more wealth/productivity (or that help people in genuine need).

    The system’s been underfunded for years, while the necessities remained. Part of this was loss of federal dollars, but also, the wrong kinds of tax cuts, leading to deficits and compounding interest on the debt. Finally, there has just been mismanagement and wrong priorities from Corbett and the GOP legislature. They play games with the budget and projections and manipulating numbers to kick the can down the road, rather than make adult decisions.

    Corbett couldn’t/wouldn’t pay for bridge inspections, so he had them lower the weight-limit signs on uninspected bridges instead.

    “On March 3, Wolf will address his proposal in front of a joint House-Senate session where he believes there will be “surprises for the people in that room.” ”

    Unless he’s going to lock the doors and attempt to fill the room with poison gas (like in 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie), I don’t think he’s going to cause a lot of panic.

    It’s doubtful many of the assembled officials will understand the budget proposals. They will just be told that it fits or threatens their political orthodoxy. The actual merits will not be considered relevant.

    The state is in a big financial hole, so they might listen to Wolf if he can make the numbers come out better than they are now. But, with the increased GOP and more stupidity in their leadership denying basic medicine, science, and economics, it’s going to be a tough sell.

  3. @ Mike – Looking back at the article, you are correct. It doesn’t say that. I misread it when I first read the article. Here is the sentence I misread: “Earlier this month, the Governor discussed using a 5 percent tax on natural gas extraction as well as expanding Medicaid.” My apologies.

  4. I thought that the 5% tax on natural gas extraction was to go towards increasing education funding? It is interesting that it is now slated for expanding Medicaid. Just furthers my point from a past article that any tax money goes to a general fund and can be spent on anything. Was the change due to poor reporting or flip-flopping by Gov. Wolf? What scares me the most is that he is like a kid in a candy store…if we increase taxes here, we can spend it here and here and here…the spending never stops!! He is already planning how to spend OUR money (not his) even before increasing taxes. Here we go again with yet another Rendell tax and spend politician.

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