Lawmakers take break on tax issue

Will either the House or the Senate plan be enough to satisfy taxpayers? Methinks not. Here’s a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story on the lull before the storm in Harrisburg.

The House plan raises income taxes and expands the items covered by the sales tax. While the sales tax expansion is hard for the average taxpayer to quantify, the increase in the personal income tax will be felt in EVERY paycheck.

The Senate plan jacks up the income tax at the local level … if the taxpayers choose to. (Isn’t that nice, state politicians don’t have to raise your taxes directly!) In addition, the Senate plan will hand out hundreds of dollars to over 600,000 senior citizens who qualify for a property tax/rent rebate welfare program. The hope (of the politicians) is that these checks will land in mailboxes just a few weeks before the November election.

Both plans require voter approval (referendum) for tax increases above a certain level. However, the referendum provisions are are so weak (State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe refers to the loophole-riddled provision as “Referendum In Name Only”) that they will utterly fail to provide taxpayers with protections from unreasonable increases in the future.

If the House or Senate plan, or a combination of two, is what finally makes it to Gov. Rendell’s desk, get ready for proclamations of “Landmark,” “Historic,” and “Ground-breaking” legislation coming out of Harrisburg.

Unfortunately, it is most likely that Harrisburg’s solution to the Pennsylvania property tax crisis (which is actually a SPENDING CRISIS of our school boards,but that’s another story) will be “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Unfortunately.