Wolf Budget: Good, Bad, Ugly

There was a lot not to like in Governor Wolf’s first budget address. For the most part, it was a wish list of higher taxes and more government spending. The Governor wants to increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 6.6 percent. On top of that, he is proposing a 20 percent increase in the personal income tax rate. In fairness, Wolf is pledging to use some of the additional funding to reduce property taxes. However, the $1000 property tax decrease will not be make-up for estimated $1450 increase in taxes that a family of four will face if his tax hikes take effect. Furthermore, there is no guarantee school districts would reduce taxes or that property owners wouldn’t see their taxes rise again in the future resulting in an even higher tax burden.

In the budget address, Wolf repeats the lie that "Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of the country in state investments in Kindergarten through 12th grade education." He uses the state’s supposed underfunding of education to justify massive tax hikes. In reality, Pennsylvania is 13th in the nation in per-pupil spending according to the latest data from the Census Bureau; nowhere near the bottom of the country.

One bright spot in the Governor’s budget address was his call to reduce the state’s corporate income tax and eliminate the capital stock and franchise tax. Wolf rightly recognizes that our tax rate is "driving jobs out of our state." Ironically, the Governor does not think that increasing taxes on natural gas producers will impact their willingness to do business in Pennsylvania.

Make no mistake, Governor Wolf’s "fresh start" is the same sad tax and spend policies that have been failing Pennsylvania and America for decades.