During the gubernatorial campaign, Tom Wolf promised not to raise taxes on middle class Pennsylvanians. Despite this promise, the governor proposed a budget including the largest tax increase in the commonwealth’s history—a tax increase sure to hit Pennsylvanians of all income levels.
Under Gov. Wolf’s plan, taxes on income, sales, energy, tobacco, banks, and lottery winners would soar. Additionally, Gov. Wolf plans not only to increase the sales tax, but expand the list of items taxed under the higher rate.
To illustrate how Gov. Wolf’s proposal would leave Pennsylvanians with less, we applied his 6.6 percent sales tax increase to a fraction of the 45 newly taxed items under his plan. A single mother sending her child to daycare, a senior, like Kermit Bell’s mother, who relies on home care for her dementia, and a college student trying to further his or her education will all be hit under this sales tax increase.
Here are just five scenarios whereby Pennsylvanians could pay more to cover the gigantic increases in state spending:
- The average college student, who generally does not have a lot of disposable income, could pay approximately $79 more in taxes when purchasing textbooks.
- A family who has an infant in day care would see approximately $746 annually in new taxes on day care services.
- Making funeral arrangements is never easy, but under Gov. Wolf’s plan, grieving families would have it a bit harder as they may need to figure out how to cover $465 in additional taxes on funeral services.
- The governor’s proposal would hit those those currently living in a nursing home the hardest. If the sales tax were applied to the average cost of nursuing home services, it could increase the price by $6,890 per year.
- If families opted to have a loved one cared for at home, the tax bill on home care services could reach $3,020 annually.
Here is a list of the goods and services that would now be taxed under Gov. Wolf’s proposal, as outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue:
Motion and Video Pictures
Financial Investment Activities
Real Estate Agent and Broker Services
Business Support Services
Travel Arrangement Services
Other Support, Office Administrative,
and Facilities Support
Home Health Care Services
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
Museums, Historical Sites, and
Amusement and Recreation Industries
Recreational Vehicle Parks and Camps
Personal Care Services
Death Care Services
Dry-cleaning and Laundry Services
Other Personal Services
Specialized Design Services
Scientific Research and Development Services
Professional Services, Architectural, Computer
Candy & Gum
Personal Hygiene Products
Caskets & Burial Vaults
Catalogs & Direct Mail Advertising
Construction of Memorials
Uniform Commerical Code Filing Fees
Investment Metal Bullion and Gold
While the governor insists property tax relief would ease the burden of his tax increases, the relief would not arrive until a year after the tax increases kick in, if at all. This sales tax increase and expansion is projected to take $1.6 billion out of the private economy next year and nearly $4 billion per year when fully implemented.
In addition to stunting economic growth, this tax increase would directly affect the standard of living for Pennsylvanians, as a larger percentage of their incomes would be devoted to paying higher taxes, leaving fewer dollars for their own needs.
This isn’t what Gov. Wolf promised during the campaign.