Gov. Wolf’s False Facts on Facebook
Governor Tom Wolf made it clear that he didn’t like anything in the budget that the General Assembly put on his desk on June 30—even though it mirrored about two-thirds of his proposed spending plans.
The vetoed budget didn’t include his highest-in-the-nation income, sales, tobacco, and energy tax increases—proposals that failed to get either Democrat or Republican support in the House on June 1 with a 0-193 vote.
As the governor uses TV and radio ads to push for his massive tax increases, he continues to try to vindicate his budget veto with deceptive half-truths. Take the arguments in his recent Facebook meme titled “The Republican Budget.”
- “…only $8 million more for public schools…” Gov. Wolf can argue that more money is needed for public education. That’s a subjective debate. But to say the vetoed budget only provided $8 million more is false. The vetoed budget increased spending in preK-12 education by $370 million.
State spending in the public schools is already at an all time high. Overall, Pennsylvania ranks 10th in total funding per student—at $15,000, which is nearly $3,000 above the national average.
- “…handouts for oil and gas drillers…” First of all, “oil” isn’t even part of the Wolf natural gas tax proposal. What “handouts” is the Governor talking about? The natural gas industry gets no state subsidies. Ironically, the only handout is in the governor’s proposal to earmark severance tax money to subsidize “alternative energy” companies that can’t compete.
In reality, natural gas companies already pay every tax every other business pays in Pennsylvania, in addition to a severance tax that is called an “Impact Fee.”
- “…unbalanced and creates a $3 billion deficit…” “Deficits” only occur when you spend more money than you have. The state runs into this problem when spending outpaces tax revenues. Gov. Wolf can create a “deficit” by simply disagreeing with revenue assumptions made in the vetoed budget.
Indeed, the Governor’s very own budget shows that even after imposing $12 billion in new and higher taxes, he will run “deficits” in the coming years.
- “…one-time revenues…” They should! When a family or business runs short on cash, they look in every cupboard, sofa cushion, and office to find more money. Unlike Gov. Wolf, families and businesses don’t have a taxpayer paycheck they can raid.
Instead of vilifying, we should applaud the General Assembly for using “one-time revenues” rather than raising taxes on low and middle income families. Better yet, they’ve started to address budget cost drivers, like pensions.
- “…no property tax relief…” In what world is raising income, sales and other taxes to the tune of $12 billion to give back less than $4 billion called “relief”? Most people would call that a tax hike.
Gov. Wolf is entitled to his own opinions, but being deceptive and disingenuous with facts is hardly becoming of “a new kind of governor”.