Senator Elder Vogel issued the following statement in response to the Fiscal Year 2015-16 state budget proposed by Governor Wolf during a joint session of the General Assembly today:
“The new taxes and new spending in Governor Wolf’s budget are staggering, the biggest in history. Under his plan, working Pennsylvanians would have more money taken out of their paychecks and pay more for their basic necessities. His tax increases total $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 20 percent more in personal income taxes and 10 percent more in sales and use taxes under the Wolf plan. For small business the Wolf tax increases will be onerous. For mid- and lower-income individuals they are exceedingly regressive.
“I do not believe that massive tax increases will help make Pennsylvania a stronger state. I am extremely disappointed that Governor Wolf is also proposing an onerous extraction tax on the Marcellus Shale industry. Pennsylvania already has a special tax on the natural gas industry, it’s called the impact fee. This tax raised more than $800 million and has brought much needed money to all of our local governments to deal with impacts of the industry and environmental programs. The severance tax proposed by Governor Wolf would just send more money to Harrisburg. In the long run, the Governor’s tax would slow that industry and have a serious impact on jobs and the economy of numerous western Pennsylvania communities.
“While I strongly support reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax, it cannot be at the expense of the hardworking middle class through the historic sales and income tax increases. Raising taxes is not a ‘big idea.’ It’s a small idea, one which puts our businesses and citizens at risk for failure. In fact, Governor Wolf’s 10 percent sales tax increase is especially troubling since it would put small businesses in western Pennsylvania at a further disadvantage to those in neighboring states with lower tax rates, such as Ohio (5.75 percent). Our citizens and Pennsylvania employers need real reforms and relief, not increased burdens.”
Joe Weidner email@example.com