Having served as the state’s revenue secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell, Wolf believes that wealthy Pennsylvanians need to pay more taxes.
Moreover, Wolf believes the state’s over-reliance on local property taxes to fund public education has contributed to current budgetary issues. He thinks that Pennsylvania’s nearly $30 billion state public school system should be funded primarily by income, rather than property, taxes.
“There is a real passion for property tax relief,” Wolf told a panel of Associated Press reporters and editors. “We have gone well beyond what I think the local property taxpayer should pay to support public education, and so we need to reduce that, and that means that the state should take a bigger share of responsibility.”
Currently, the state shoulders one-third of the burden, while property tax revenue amounts to more than 40 percent. Wolf’s proposed budget increases the state’s share to 50 percent.
The Democratic nominee’s proposed budget would also adjust the state’s 43 year old income tax. If elected, he plans to shift more of the financial burden onto citizens in the higher income brackets. He also plans to relieve more low-income households of their tax burden through a “universal exemption.”
Wolf sees his plan as fair, and he hopes that it will lessen the burden on those who he deems as the middle class; households with annual incomes between $70,000 and $90,000.
Wolf commented, “I’m looking at it from the point of view of fairness. I think people like me should pay more. I think people who are starting out, building a business, starting a family, should pay less.”
Wolf does not support an increase in the sales taxes, however he is in favor of a natural gas extraction tax.
The millionaire businessman spent over $10 million of his own money in order to win the Democratic primary.
Governor Corbett sees rising property taxes as a result of the burgeoning cost of public pensions. The Governor has been working to reduce the cost of public pensions, and stated in a conference call last Thursday that he is open to using a task force approach.
Corbett said that Wolf, “doesn’t seem to think there is a pension crisis…it’s only going to keep getting worse. In just two years, it will add $1.2 billion to the budget. We can’t keep adding those costs. The system is clearly broken and we need to do something about it.”