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In case you missed it: My reaction to the governor’s “bait and switch” property tax plan
Eighty-four grassroots taxpayer groups across the state have rallied behind a proposal they designed to eliminate school property taxes by shifting to increases in the income and sales taxes. The growing call to eliminate school property taxes crosses traditional political boundaries and covers every corner of Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday, the governor proposed a permanent increase of sales and income taxes for a temporary reduction in school property taxes. In a few years, those property taxes will grow and taxpayers will be left with higher income taxes, higher sales taxes and again, high school property taxes. Needless to say, today’s budget proposal is not a long-term solution for the taxpayers, instead, it is a long-term solution to grow taxes, with no limits on spending.
I don’t believe that the governor’s plan – by far, the largest tax increase ever proposed in state history – is a realistic solution. Instead, we have to address major cost-drivers in state government and completely eliminate the unfair, 1834-model school property tax. Elimination is the key – not some ‘bait and switch’ scheme.
Listen to my remarks here.
Here is a memo I circulated with three Republican and four Democrat colleagues about our proposal to eliminate school property taxes.
Coverage of budget reaction:
Senate to review governor’s FY 2015-16 budget
Beginning with Governor Tom Wolf’s budget address on Tuesday, the Senate begins the extensive process leading to the finalization of a state budget for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, which runs from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.
During a joint session of the General Assembly, the Governor unveiled his $33.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16, which includes a $4.7 billion (16.1 percent) increase in state spending. It also includes tax increases totaling $4.7 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. Detailed information about the budget is available here.
The House and Senate members are taking a hard look at the Governor’s proposal. The process will get underway as the Senate Appropriations Committee holds three-weeks of budget hearings beginning on March 16.
The hearings provide me with an opportunity to hear Administration officials detail their plans for the upcoming fiscal year and for me to ask them questions about the impact of this budget on the everyday lives of the constituents of this district in Berks and Schuylkill Counties. Live coverage of the hearings will be available online on my website.
Senate committees hold hearing highlighting natural gas Impact Fee
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the Senate Local Government Committee held a joint public hearing on Tuesday to discuss the benefits of the Act 13 Impact Fee on Pennsylvania communities.
The public hearing featured testimony from counties, townships, conservation districts and economic development organizations throughout the state. Act 13 of 2012 imposed an unconventional gas well fee which has provided more than $630 million to local and county governments to compensate for impacts of the industry, in addition to more than the additional $2 billion which the natural gas companies have paid in state taxes.
Click here for video of the hearing.
Bill sets penalties for false claim of veteran status
The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday intended to protect the integrity of the “veteran” driver’s license designation process. Under Senate Bill 42 those who falsely claim to be a veteran on their Pennsylvania driver’s license application would be subject to a summary offense with a $300 fine and possible imprisonment of between 30 and 90 days for those who fail to pay the fine. A state law enacted in 2012 allows veterans to self-certify their status subject to verification by state military officials.
On Monday, the Senate approved Senate Bill 130, a measure banning the practice of allowing persons sentenced to community service to purchase gift cards in lieu of performing the service.
Both bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.