Wolf’s Cradle-to-Grave Tax Plan Burdens Families, Sacrifices Jobs

Wolf’s Cradle-to-Grave Tax Plan Burdens Families,
Sacrifices Jobs

Prioritizing—Not Increasing—Spending is Better for Everyone

Good morning,

Gov. Wolf’s cradle-to-grave tax plan asks Pennsylvanians to sacrifice some big-ticket items—$1,400 per family of four and 40,000 private sector jobs—all to fund a bloated state budget that has grown $4,000 per person over the past 45 years and spends tax dollars at an astonishing $1,000 per second.

Today, Commonwealth Foundation Vice President of Policy Analysis Nathan A. Benefield will testify before the Senate Finance Committee that alternatives to tax increases could avoid the many burdens of Gov. Wolf’s budget.

In his remarks before the committee, Benefield put the state’s fiscal condition in context, saying: “44 of the past 45 fiscal years have seen an overall spending increase. In historic terms, that equals an increase of more than $16,000 for a family of four (of $4,000 per person) since 1970 after adjusting for inflation.”

 PA total operating budget, 1970-2016

(Chart: PA State Total Operating Budget, 1970-2016)

Benefield said Wolf’s budget proposal will only accelerate this decades-long trend, “Gov. Wolf’s $4.5 billion state tax increase would be the largest increase in Pennsylvania’s history. His state tax increases amount to $356 per person or $1,425 per family of four in the first year.”

Wolf’s cradle-to-grave tax scheme will hit consumers of diapers, day care, college text books, nursing home care, and funeral services—a total of 45 new product and service categories will be taxed. Benefield specified how much this will cost average Pennsylvanians: a family utilizing day care ($363), a Penn State student ($283.47), a family losing a loved one ($528), and a senior citizen in a nursing home ($6,890).

The resulting negative impact on Pennsylvania’s economic growth will result in 40,000 private sector jobs not created, according to an analysis by the Beacon Hill Institute.

Private Sector Employment With & Without Wolf Taxes

(Chart: Private Sector Employment With & Without Wolf Taxes)

Alternatives to Wolf’s plan to raise taxes by the largest amount in state history include cutting corporate welfare, ending prevailing wage mandates, and slowing the growth in human services spending.

Benefield concluded, “Before we ask families to pay more for goods and services they use every day, or to fork over a greater share of their paycheck, we should first look to how we spend the revenue we already collect.”

Read Benefield’s complete prepared remarks here.

Nathan Benefield and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment today. Please contact me to schedule an interview.


John Bouder
Senior Communications Officer
Commonwealth Foundation
[email protected]