HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) says the increased taxes and spending in Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal unveiled Wednesday would be bad news for the Commonwealth.
“Pennsylvania has a long way to go to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic – physically, emotionally and economically. Increasing taxes on our families and small businesses is certainly not going to aid in that recovery,” Owlett said. “As workers struggle with unemployment and the failed unemployment compensation system, and as business owners fight to keep their staff employed and preserve their life’s work, we cannot and should not be asking for more money for Harrisburg. The governor, a former business owner himself, should know better.”
In a pre-recorded address to the General Assembly, Wolf called for a $40.2 billion budget, a spending increase of more than 7% over the current year. To help fund that increased spending, he is proposing a series of tax and fee increases, including:
• A 46% increase in the state Personal Income Tax (PIT), from 3.07% to 4.49%. The increase would impact the state’s working middle-class, as well as many small businesses.
• A new severance tax on the natural gas industry. With the existing business taxes and impact fees already paid by the industry, the cost of any new tax would certainly be passed on to consumers.
• A new fee on municipalities that rely on the Pennsylvania State Police for services.
• A mandated increase in the minimum wage.
“Rather than increasing taxes and spending, we should be laser-focused on distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. That should help our citizens get back to work, back to school and back to being able to visit with their loved ones – a key component to our emotional health.
“We need to reopen our economy safely and help people return to their normal lives. This proposal would be detrimental to that goal.”
Owlett stressed that the budget outlined by the governor Wednesday is just his proposal. In the weeks and months ahead, the General Assembly will be working to develop a more realistic plan that focuses on funding the core functions of government without overburdening taxpayers. The first step in that development will be budget hearings held by the House Appropriations Committee, on which Owlett serves.
For more information about the budget and a schedule of upcoming hearings, visit PAHouseGOP.com
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler