Central Pennsylvania Lawmakers Set the Record Straight: Wolf Wants More of Taxpayers’ Hard-Earned Money
HARRISBURG – Central Pennsylvania legislators of the House Republican Caucus are rejecting Gov. Tom Wolf’s demand for massive tax increases, including an increase to the Personal Income Tax as part of his annual budget proposal. That 11 percent tax increase (retroactive to Jan. 1, 2016), along with several others, would amount to an annual tax hike of $2.7 billion.

Speaking at a dry cleaning business in Cumberland County today, legislators said Wolf’s proposal for extensive tax hikes are being opposed by a large majority of Pennsylvanians – working families, senior citizens and small business owners.

The governor is seeking $7.4 billion in supplements for the current fiscal year which is an increase of 5.8 percent for 2015-16. He’s also proposing a 7.9 percent increase for 2016-17.

“In my district and throughout Pennsylvania, taxpayers reject the idea of broad-based tax hikes, and especially the governor’s budget proposal to increase taxes retroactively,” said Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland).

Dale Kaplan, the owner-operator at Kaplan’s Careful Cleaners in Camp Hill since 1978, said Wolf’s increased taxes could be devastating to small businesses. “Many small businesses pay the Personal Income Tax in leiu of businesses taxes, and an increase in the rate would undoubtedly drive up costs for small business owners, many of whom rely on smaller margins. That could drive these small operators out of business.”

House Republicans also called on Wolf to release education funds to prevent the closure of public schools in the state. Wolf cut $3 billion in basic education funding as part of his partial veto of the House-passed budget. The lawmakers said the governor should work with the Legislature to develop solutions that keep the state operating without resorting to broad-based tax increases.

“What is most frustrating is that adequate state funds for education are available for all of our public schools and are being held back because of the governor’s veto,” said House Education Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York). “In fact, the budget passed by the General Assembly in December called for a record increase in funding for public education, and the funds are there to pay for it.”

Central Pennsylvania lawmakers also expressed frustration that while the administration claims to want to close an expected structural deficit, it proposes increasing spending by billions of dollars.

“If you’re concerned about a structural deficit, you don’t show it by increasing so many lines of spending,” said Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams/Cumberland). “And we are not just concerned about proposed spending, but the level of spending that occurred before the budget was even passed.”

The House members pointed to their recently unveiled PennSAVE initiative as a means to realize savings, accountability, value and efficiency in state spending.

“PennSAVE will require us to closely examine our operations, our procurement practices and how we can be more innovative in realizing savings and efficiencies,” said Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York). “We invite the public to join us by submitting suggestions for cost-saving steps.”

The lawmakers invited Wolf to join them in developing a responsible budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year while releasing funds already appropriated for education and other essential services in the state.

Also in attendance were Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin/Lebanon), Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) and Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York).

Representative Greg Rothman
87th LegislatativeDistrict
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tom Pyne
Rick Leiner
RepRothman.com / Facebook.com/RepRothman