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Local Lawmakers Address Wolf’s Proposed Tax Increases and Connection to Property Tax Reform
3/9/2016
LANSFORD – Local legislators from 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. The legislators included Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), Rep. David Parker (R-Monroe), Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill) and Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin).

Speaking at Kennedy Park in Lansford 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. Further, Wolf’s proposed tax increases significantly set back any prospects of school property tax relief.

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 and a 7.9 percent increase for 2016-17.

“Property taxes are the number one issue facing Carbon County families. Gov. Wolf’s tax increases are not accompanied by dollar-for-dollar property tax relief. There is no plan for property tax relief in his 2016-17 budget,” said Heffley.

“I am also frustrated by the governor’s unwillingness to release necessary education funding. Pennsylvania’s children do not deserve to be pawns in his political game – and their education should never be at risk. Our state should not be in a standstill while Gov. Wolf uses political tactics as leverage for higher taxes. It is simply unacceptable.”

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.

“We believe in creating an efficient government that delivers excellent services to our citizens, positioning Pennsylvania to compete globally and nationally in the months and years to come. “Instead of crippling Pennsylvania's economic growth with higher, job-crushing taxes and dumping more millions into unaccountable, non-transparent programs, our plan is designed to increase economic growth,” Parker said.

“We are fighting for families to keep more of their hard-earned money, because we believe Pennsylvania families can, have and will make wiser investments in their schools, communities and economies than Harrisburg or Washington D.C.”

The 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.

“The reality is, our governor is a tax-and-spend liberal,” said Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill). “He needs to work with the legislature to complete a budget that works for real Pennsylvanians, not millionaires. Instead of increasing spending by historical amounts, which is what the governor has proposed, we should be focused on exploring every practical option for reducing costs.”

“Not only has this administration manufactured anxiety within our schools, counties, and human service agencies, he held them hostage for the better part of last year,” said Tobash. “There is no financial reason to increase people’s taxes at this time. We have proven we can operate within our means, without massive, widespread tax increases. We are continuing to search for ways to save taxpayer dollars at the state level.”

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.

Representative Doyle Heffley
122nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Morgan Dux
717.260.6695
mdux@pahousegop.com
RepHeffley.com / Facebook.com/RepHeffley
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