Do PA Democrats Really Want Higher Taxes? Probably Not.

While Gov. Rendell and House Appropriations Chair Dwight Evans are talking up a potential increase in Pennsylvania’s Personal Income Tax, some of the rank and file Democrats are already starting to undermine those talking points.

FYI by PLS quotes State Rep. Jesse White noting about any broad based tax increase,

“I can say, from our caucus point of view, that’s not something we’re pushing for,â€? he remarked. “I can say that.â€? He added that proposing an increase seems pointless anyway until leadership can identify 26 senators who support it. Otherwise, Rep. White said, it won’t reach the governor’s desk anyway. “Look, if you want to talk about this, let’s talk about it from the point of view from showing me 26 senators who will vote ‘yes,’â€? he said. “But until then … why are we even talking about it?â€?

On this, I happen to agree with Rep. White. In fact, I doubt there are even enough votes in the Democrat-controlled Pennsylvania House to pass an income tax increase. So “why are we talking about it”?

My guess is that, when all the dust settles, many voters are not going to be happy with what the budget contains – perhaps a cigarette tax increase, tax on natural gas severance, exhausting the “rainy day” fund, etc. – and Rendell, Evans, et. al. are just laying the groundwork to say “Hey, it could have been worse” and then take credit for avoiding a major tax hike this year.

Or am I being too cynical?