State Senate Passes Revenue Package, Includes Tax Increases
The state Senate sent a revenue package to the House today to balance the spending plan that was passed in June. The Senate’s bill uses a mix of tax increases and expansions, gambling expansion, fund transfers, and borrowing.
Included in the taxes is a tax on natural gas extraction. The plan will borrow approximately $1.3 billion against Pennsylvania’s tobacco settlement fund.
“We’ve done everything we can in state government to contain spending in the areas that we have the ability to do in order to avoid any tax increase. Unfortunately, we are here today because we ran out of our ability to do that. If we are going to maintain our responsibility to educate our children, provide for higher education, provide for human services and pay our debts, we are in a position that we have find the revenue needed to make that happen,” state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said after the vote.
The bill passed by a final margin of 26-24. State Senator Scott Wagner (R-York), who is also running for Governor, voted against the bill and took the opportunity to speak against Governor Wolf.
“I find very troubling all of us are here today because the state’s chief executive failed to do his job and is failing to do his job by not holding state agencies accountable,” Wagner said according to the Patriot News.
The plan will now go to the House, where its future is unknown. State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) walked away from earlier budget negotiations when the prospect of tax increases was discussed.