Tax Reform’s Benefits Should Be Embraced, Not Erased

Tax reform will save Pennsylvania's consumers an estimated $324 million. This according to the Public Utility Commission, which approved rate cuts for 17 utility companies last week. The lower utitlity bills will kick in July 1 for residents and businesses.

This news comes on the heels of numerous Pennsylvania companies announcing bonuses, wage increases, and additional retirement benefits for their employees, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable contributions.

However, the success of tax reform isn’t confined to Pennsylvania’s borders. As economist Jonathan Williams points out, states across the country are experiencing the benefits of reduced tax rates:

Already in 2018, lawmakers in Georgia, Iowa and Idaho have used the federal tax reform to their advantage and enacted tax reforms this session to lower tax rates and broadly enhance their economic competitiveness.

Overall, approximately 540 businesses have announced additional benefits for their employees, charitable contributions for the community, and utility rate reductions for consumers.

Tax reform is improving people’s lives. Yet, some policymakers want to erase the progress made thus far. For instance, Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, recently wrote an op-ed defending Gov. Wolf’s natural gas severance tax proposal. Unsurprisingly, he downplayed the negative impact of a new energy tax.

But a report from the Independent Fiscal Office found Pennsylvanians would shoulder part of the new tax burden in the forms of higher utility bills and lower royalty payments. And these consequences would be in addition to job losses plus forgone salary and benefit gains.

These problems were glossed over or ignored in Sec. Davin’s op-ed. His focus was on raising revenue for political priorities and making people pay their “fair share”—a vague promise that will result in punishing Pennsylvanians who produce for their families and communities.

Instead of reversing the gains Pennsylvanians have made over the last several months, Gov. Wolf and the legislature should focus on reducing the tax burden on working people and restraining government spending with reforms like the Taxpayer Protection Act.

Other states have already created the blueprint for responsibly reducing tax rates. Now it’s time for Pennsylvania to take the lead.