Zero Votes for Wolf Tax Hikes

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed tax increase—the largest in Pennsylvania’s history.

The tax proposal failed by a 0-193 vote. That’s right, not a single state lawmaker voted in support of Governor Wolf’s tax plan.

Why not? Here’s a quick refresher:

  1. Wolf’s proposed tax increase hits middle-class families with net annual tax increase of $1,400 per family of four.
  2. Wolf’s cradle-to-the-grave tax increase would hurt college students (taxing books and fees), young families (taxing diapers and day care), senior citizens (taxing nursing home care and home health care), and the bereaved (taxing funeral services). In total, Wolf proposes 45 categories to be taxed under the sales tax.
  3. Only 30 cents from every dollar in new state taxes would be directed toward property tax relief.
  4. The Independent Fiscal Office finds that every income group would pay higher taxes under Wolf’s plan.
  5. Wolf’s tax plan would result in almost 40,000 fewer private sector jobs once fully implemented.

Gov. Wolf has already began calling the unanimous rejection of his tax proposal a stunt. Yet until yesterday, his administration had been insisting that lawmakers take up his proposal in its entirety, as a take it or leave it proposition.

Here is Gov. Wolf in a Q&A with the Patriot News:

How much of the budget that you introduced do you hope to see as an end product?

All of it.

It actually is a holistic program. It’s not meant to be cherry-picked.

And here is Budget Secretary Randy Albright:

“Without any hesitation I can say to you that the tax plan that we have put forward … is the tax plan we need to put in place now to strategically go out and address the multiple challenges that we face as a Commonwealth,”

Wolf Chief of Staff Katie McGinty echoes the same refrain:

“This package as a whole proposes the biggest tax relief for both individuals and businesses in a couple of generations,” Katie McGinty said. “It is absolutely an urgent package for where Pennsylvania finds itself.”

And Jeff Sheridan, Wolf’s spokesman, repeated this take it or leave it rhetoric:

Sheridan, Wolf’s spokesman, said the governor will fight for his whole budget. “You can’t look at this as separate pieces,” Sheridan said.

Gov. Wolf got what we wanted—the House did consider his entire tax package as a whole. Because of House rules, they cannot take up Gov. Wolf’s proposal or a similar proposal again (without voting to suspend the rules), making the entire package effectively dead. Of course, there is still a threat of “piecemeal” tax increase as part of this year’s budget.

However, we encourage Gov. Wolf to start working with lawmakers on meaningful policy changes, including pension reform, liquor store privatization, union contract transparency, spending limits, prevailing wage reform and mandate relief, and expanding school choice.

The status quo just isn’t good enough.