Hillary Clinton isn’t the only lying Democrat:
Wolf’s $30B budget: tax hikes, school relief
Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau | Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 11:35 AM
HARRISBURG – Gov. Wolf on Tuesday unveiled a nearly $30 billion spending plan that would raise the state income and sales taxes, but use much of that new money to give school districts almost $4 billion for property tax breaks.The governor also wants to infuse an additional $400 million into basic education, bump up subsidies for early childhood education by $120 million and increase funding for the four state-related universities, including Temple and Lincoln universities, by $80 million.
The scope of Wolf’s first budget proposal is both ambitious and controversial, raising taxes and imposing new taxes at levels that have not been seen in years.
The administration is arguing that Democratic governor’s budget is more than just a string of tax hikes to support spending in areas like public education that saw funding slashed under his Republican predecessor.
There’s more at the original.
So, for all of those Pennsylvanians who voted for Tom Wolf, who said that he would not raise the sales tax or income taxes on the middle class, how do you like him now? Here’s a video that the Wold for Governor website used, but this copy is on YouTube, where the Governor’s minions might not be able to delete it so quickly:
Tom Wolf wants to ease the tax burden on middle class families. Tom will implement a five percent severance tax that will make oil and gas companies pay their fair share to help fund Pennsylvania’s schools. Tom Wolf’s personal income tax proposal will provide middle class families their first personal income tax break in 22 years. Tom Wolf’s personal income tax plan will make the tax system more fair, and according to one analysis, 77 percent of Pennsylvania families will get a tax cut.
The Governor’s actual proposal: to increase the individual income tax rate from 3.07% to 3.70%, a 20.52% increase. In his campaign, Mr Wolf said that he’d only increase income taxes on the top income earners; today, he proposed to increase it on everyone.
When he was running for Governor, Mr Wolf clarified that he opposes an increase to the state sales tax; now he says that he wants to increase it 10%, from 6.0% to 6.6%, and to expand sales tax coverage to some things previously exempt.
One point in particular bothers me:
On paper, Wolf’s proposed $29.9 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 is about 3 percent higher than this year’s $29 billion spending plan. But that is because it doesn’t account for nearly $2.1 billion that Wolf would transfer into a special fund for property tax relief, as well as $1.7 billion moved to another fund for public school employee pension costs.
If that money is taken into account, Wolf’s budget proposes spending 16 percent more over this year.
Yeah, 16%, that bothers me!
I was living in Virginia when Jim Gilmore, the Republican candidate for Governor, promised to cut the very-much-hated personal property tax on automobiles during his 1997 campaign. Mr Gilmore won, but there was a problem: he became the head of the state government, while the personal property tax was levied by local governments, by counties and cities. Having no direct authority over the personal property tax, the Governor and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly put together legislation which essentially bribed the local governments to cut the personal property tax.1
That’s what Governor Wolf wants to do here, because, like Governor Gilmore, he was elected to an office that does not control the item he wants to change!
It’s understandable: people hate property taxes! I pay them,2 and I certainly do, but local governments and school districts have to be supported in some fashion. Transferring more of their funding to the state means more control of local education by the state, something to which I am unalterably opposed.
And for some areas, including the Poconos, where I live, reducing property taxes to support pubic schools, while increasing the sales and income taxes to replace them, is not a net wash. Many school districts in the Poconos have vacation homes owned by out-of-staters, vacation homes on which they have to pay property taxes. If property taxes are reduced, we will lose that out-of-state revenue, while getting no income taxes from them at all, and any sales tax increases only when they are actually buying things in Pennsylvania. In most parts of the state, this isn’t a concern, but it is in the northeast.
Fortunately, at the same time Pennsylvanians elected Mr Wolf, we also increased the sizes of the Republican majorities in both Houses of the General Assembly;3 Governor Wolf cannot get his tax increases passed unless the Republicans approve. I certainly hope that Governor Wolf’s proposals are dead on arrival!
- Full disclosure: I voted for Jim Gilmore, and would do it again, but this was a misbegotten policy. ↩
- Renters pay property taxes just as surely as do property owners; those taxes are included in their rents, so they aren’t as obvious. ↩
- Please do not interpret the “we” to think that your Editor voted for Mr Wolf; he most certainly did not! ↩