What Would $1,400 Buy? The True Cost of Wolf’s Tax Plan Revealed, News Conference Today

For Immediate Release
Commonwealth Foundation
Contact: 717-671-1901

Wolf Tax Plan Devastating to Families, Elderly, and Small Businesses

$1,400 in Groceries Illustrates Sacrifice Wolf Requires of a Family of Four

March 9, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Imagine a mom walking up to the grocery store check-out counter and finding $1,400 less in her bank account. What everyday necessities would her family have to sacrifice to make ends meet?

Then there’s the elderly mother who would need an extra month’s payment to stay in her nursing home. And a family-owned small business would be forced to increase customers by 25 percent just to break even under Gov. Wolf’s tax plan.

Today, families facing the real-world consequences of Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal—which would reduce the household budget by $1,419 per family of four—will speak out at a news conference. Approximately $1,400 of groceries and household items will also be on display showing what families would give up to pay for Wolf’s spending plans.

“Pennsylvania families looking to buy school supplies, pay for daycare, put food on the table, or care for their elderly parents simply cannot afford Gov. Wolf’s crushing tax increase—the largest in state history,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “For every new dollar in tax increases, Gov. Wolf would send just 30 cents back to school districts for property tax rebates, without any guarantees of permanent relief. That’s the kind of deal only those working in government would think Pennsylvanians will cheer.”

News conference in the Capitol’s East Wing Rotunda today at 11 a.m.

Brouillette will be joined by families, small business owners, and a senior citizen to share how Gov. Wolf’s tax plans will harm their quality of life. State legislators will also participate in the news conference.

Wolf’s Income Tax Increase Harms Young Families, Small Businesses

Micah and Abby Dunn started a family chiropractic business in 2013. With three boys under the age of six, both the Dunn family budget and small business would be hit hard by Gov. Wolf’s $4.5 billion tax scheme.

“Gov. Wolf’s income tax increase would require me to see five new patients a month, rather than four, just to break even,” said Micah Dunn. “This doesn’t include the additional costs his sales tax will impose—from buying diapers for my kids to purchasing supplies and services for my small business operations.

“We’re not talking about having to scale down our summer vacation—what’s a vacation? It’s more like figuring out how to keep the electric on. If passed, Gov. Wolf's tax increases would take us backwards, not forwards.”

Wolf’s Sales Tax Expansion Harms Seniors on Fixed Incomes

Kermit Bell says his 90-year-old mother, Louise, who lives in a Palmyra nursing home, would have to pay another $3,000 a year under Wolf’s tax plan.

“This is like adding a thirteenth month of costs for my mother's housing and care,” said Mr. Bell. “My mom—and I suspect most of the others in her home—simply cannot afford this unprecedented tax on senior citizens in the twilight years of their lives. My mom has severe dementia and will not, thankfully, remember this day when Mr. Wolf decided to raise taxes on her and her friends. I am very disappointed that the governor is so willing to hurt some of the most vulnerable people in our state.”

Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget will take three times more out of family budgets than it will give back to school districts in temporary property tax subsidies—delivering more pain than relief to most citizens.

“Just last week Mayor Nutter in Philadelphia proposed a 9 percent property tax increase, illustrating that the property tax relief Wolf is proposing would be temporary,” Brouillette noted. “There is nothing stopping school districts from raising property taxes despite Wolf’s rebates.”

“Gov. Wolf is also playing a shell-game by shifting $1.75 billion in pension spending out of the General Fund budget into a newly created fund,” Brouillette continued. “This hides costs, making his tax-and-spend plan appear smaller than it is. Moving billions of tax dollars out of the public’s view is hardly consistent with his campaign promises of transparency.”

The $1,400 of groceries and household items on display will be donated to Harrisburg-area charities and families in need following the news conference.

Click here for a detailed analysis of Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal. For alternatives to Gov. Wolf’s tax-and-spend plan, see our five steps toward a balanced budget.

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact us at 717-671-1901 to schedule an interview.

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For more information, please contact or director of media relations for the Commonwealth Foundation at 717-671-1901 or [email protected].

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