HARRISBURG – State Reps. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) and Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield/Cambria) have joined a bipartisan majority of their House colleagues in defeating Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to raise taxes on Pennsylvanians.
The governor’s plan, filed as an amendment to House Bill 283, proposed increasing the Personal Income Tax (PIT) from 3.07 percent to 3.57 percent and imposing severance tax on natural gas drillers while using a small portion of the taxes to finance an expansion of the state’s existing Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.
Gabler and Sankey issued the following statement after the 127-73 vote:
“On the eve of the 100th day of the budget impasse, our governor must face the reality that the tax increases necessary to feed his insatiable appetite for unsustainable government spending does not have enough support from Pennsylvanians to become law. The reasons for opposing it are obvious.
“First, taxpayers have told us they cannot afford to pay 16 percent more in Personal Income Tax. We agree they should not be forced to accept this government-mandated cut to their salaries. Furthermore, we believe taxpayers should not be subjected to the bait-and-switch aspect of this plan’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate provision that calls on Pennsylvanians to pay $1,400 more in income taxes for every $84 that is given back. No attempt to disguise this tax increase will change the reality that it would hurt middle-class working families.
“Second, this is a proposal that would kill jobs. The severance tax contained in this bill would create an effective tax rate on natural gas of more than over 14 percent – much higher than any other state. This would undoubtedly push the natural gas industry to accelerate its movement of rigs out of Pennsylvania.
“While we have no doubt that drilling companies would continue creating jobs and making money in other states like Ohio and West Virginia, what would that mean for our local family-owned businesses that simply can’t pick up and move? What about the people who work for local suppliers, trucking companies, hotels and restaurants who depend on the gas industry? Crossing the state line for greener pastures is not an option for them.
“Despite the huge effective tax rate on this natural gas proposal, it still does not raise the sort of money necessary to fund the governor’s irresponsible spending levels. Economic reality makes it the worst of both worlds – a huge job-killing tax that still provides minimal revenue. Ninety-five percent of the money in the Wolf tax package would come from hard-working people who pay Pennsylvania’s Personal Income Tax.
“This proposal was unreasonable and unrealistic. It is good that it has been put to rest. We now look forward to once again discussing workable solutions that Pennsylvanians can afford and that has the votes necessary to gain the support of a majority of the elected representatives of the citizens of Pennsylvania.”