After proposing massive tax hikes of $4.6 billion, $2.7 billion, and $1 billion in his first three budgets, Gov. Tom Wolf struck a different tone in today’s budget address. Wolf touted job creation, improving education, ending the status quo in Harrisburg, and taming the fiscal beast as his budget priorities—all while claiming to spare Pennsylvania families from tax increases. But does Wolf’s rhetoric match reality?
Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Wolf’s budget address:
Thankfully, Gov. Wolf spent far more time today showing off his Eagles hat than he did demanding more money from Pennsylvanians, ending his three-year streak of seeking massive tax increases. I also applaud his call for reforming our criminal justice system and lowering the corporate income tax rate. But his budget proposal will not solve Pennsylvania’s problems.
For the eleventh time, Gov. Wolf is seeking to hike taxes, this time on 2.7 million households that use natural gas to heat their homes. And if you look at the total operating budget he presented today, not just the parts that get the most headlines, he is trying to spend an additional $3.3 billion. Translation: small tax increase today, bigger one later.
Gov. Wolf is right that lawmakers need to focus on jobs, education, and “taming the fiscal beast.” The way to do that is for them to improve upon his proposal by scaling back his overspending, passing the Taxpayer Protection Act, continuing their work to address the Shadow Budget, prioritizing work or community engagement requirements in welfare programs, and expanding education options to families across the state.
See Five Things to Know about Gov. Wolf's Proposed Budget for more analysis.
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact John Bouder 717-461-7978 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
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