4.6 Billion Is the Loneliest Number

Gov. Tom Wolf and the state legislature have agreed on legislation 39 times this year, the Pittsburgh Tribune notes. But when it came time to vote on Wolf’s $4.6 billion tax-hike budget earlier this year, the House gave his plan a total of zero “yays”—from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Turns out squeezing $4.6 billion in new taxes—or $1,400 per family of four—from Pennsylvanians isn’t quite as popular as Wolf thought it would be. In fact, the only award it’s garnered him so far is the title of America’s most liberal governor.

Still, 10 weeks after his plan failed by 0-193 votes, and six weeks after he vetoed a no-tax-hike budget, Gov. Wolf is still pushing for a proposal that would tax everything from candy and gum to amusement park fun.

Sadly, Pennsylvanians are bracing for the impact of Wolf’s refusal to compromise, as he’s holding up funding for human services, including those that help our elderly friends and neighbors and those with disabilities.  

To find the the source of the budget impasse, Pennsylvanians need only look to the governor. Even though 274 of about 400 line-item appropriations in the state budget Wolf vetoed were the same or even more than in Wolf’s own proposal, he road-blocked the entire budget.

Now, he’s holding up funding for core state services all because he is unwilling to budge on imposing new taxes on Pennsylvania families. Meanwhile, you’d be hard-pressed to find a family in favor of paying $1,400 more in taxes, or paying new taxes on things like day care and college meal plans.

Gov. Wolf and the legislature may have agreed 39 times, but none of those agreements hiked taxes by $4.6 billion. When it comes to winning votes for that plan, 4.6 billion is proving a lonely number.