HARRISBURG – For the second straight year, Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a state budget with massive tax increases, unsustainable spending and no reform of major cost-drivers, according to state Senator Gene Yaw (R-23).
The Governor proposes $3.6 billion in tax hikes to support his $33.28 billion spending plan for 2016-2017. The tax hikes include a 10.7% increase in the state Personal Income Tax (PIT), from a rate of 3.07% to 3.4%, an expansion of the state Sales Tax to include cable bills and other items, and a new tax on fire, property and casualty insurance.
Under the Governor’s plan, the PIT increase would be retroactive to January 1, 2016, meaning taxpayers will owe an extra six months in back tax payments if the budget is enacted June 30.
“The governor’s budget address today managed to make me really angry,” Yaw said. “He continues to use kids and threatens thousands of teacher layoffs as a means to promote his misguided budget, and then attacks members of the legislature for it. The person who created this crisis is the governor himself. He talked about compromise but he has no interest to make it happen. He could have very easily signed any of the previous budgets to move Pennsylvania forward.”
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a 3.4% increase in Basic Education funding, but abandons efforts to reform the number-one cause of school cutbacks and school property tax increases: the public pension system.
The proposal includes restoration of the $3.3 billion in aid to schools that Governor Wolf slashed from the 2015-2016 appropriation passed by the General Assembly in December, in a widely criticized bid to pressure lawmakers into approving his massive tax hikes.
“It’s unfortunate that the governor has said its either his way or the highway, and I am really worried whether or not Pennsylvania can survive three more years of this irresponsible leadership,” Yaw added.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff