HARRISBURG – In response to the largest one-time budget increase proposal in Pennsylvania history, state Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) today issued the following statement to Governor Tom Wolf’s 2015-16 budget plan:
“As proposed today, Governor Tom Wolf’s budget certainly clarifies that he is fixated on increased taxing and spending as the only way to address our problems.
The Governor is proposing tax increases totaling $4.7 billion for the upcoming fiscal year – an increase of 16.1 percent from Fiscal Year 2014-15. His proposal would raise taxes by $12 billion over the next two fiscal years – about $1,000 for every man, woman and child in Pennsylvania. Families will pay more in personal income taxes and sales and use taxes, which, under the Wolf plan, increases and makes additional items taxable.
Moreover, there is nothing in his proposal that will support his claim that property taxes will be lowered.
Governor Wolf’s treatment of the natural gas industry is especially disheartening. The industry came to Pennsylvania never asking us for a cent. We’ve done some numbers crunching and the Governor’s proposal would generate half of what he expects. In order to hit his billion dollar estimate, the state would have to implement roughly a 15% severance tax. What industry would remain in Pennsylvania after being hit with an additional tax of that magnitude?
Ironically, part of his budget proposed to bring other industries into the state by giving them grants and loans. Apparently, his thinking is let’s drive one industry out in order to bring others in and give them state money to relocate. We should be working to promote the natural gas industry, which is already in the state, as well as the ancillary industries that go along with it. Building a viable jobs-producing tax base is the only way that Pennsylvania can address its long-term fiscal issues.
CONTACT: Rita Zielonis (717) 787-3280