Wolf Budget Again Calls for Massive Tax Hikes, Unsustainable Spending and No Reform

Harrisburg – For the second straight year, Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed a state budget with massive tax increases, unsustainable spending and no reform of major cost-drivers, according to Senator Mario Scavello (R-40).

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, 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 has doubled down on his failures to provide leadership on accomplishing a bipartisan budget agreement by renewing his calls for even more taxpayer money. As a good friend of mine who represents two rural counties, Rep. Mike Peifer has stated, the Governor needs to understand that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a very diverse state that includes many rural areas in need of help,” Scavello stated.

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 Gov. 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.

Governor Wolf again threatened draconian cuts if the General Assembly does not approve his massive tax increases. If he continues to insist that there are only two ways to address the financial problems facing our Commonwealth, it raises serious questions about his understanding of the budget process and his willingness to consider any ideas other than his own.

A leader who can envision only extreme choices hasn’t earned a following.

“Leadership is based on your ability to compromise through negotiation and we look forward to the Governor joining us for a better Commonwealth. As for my colleagues and I, we will continue to lead by example,” Scavello said.

Senator Scavello’s full remarks can be viewed at www.marioscavello.com.

You can follow Senator Scavello on Twitter and Facebook.

Christine Zubeck czubeck@pasen.gov (717) 787-6123
Taylor Muñoz tmunoz@pasen.gov (717) 787-6123