August 20, 2015
You know the situation. The budget impasse between the Wolf administration and the General Assembly continues over the same issues that divided them back in June:
- appropriate spending levels
-proposed tax increases, and
- what to do about a $53 billion and growing public pension crisis.
As the heat of the summer reaches its peak, no one knows when a deal will be reached since the GOP-led House and Senate are sticking to their priorities of substantive pension reform, liquor privatization and no broad based tax increases; while the governor is insisting on raising the sales tax and expanding its base, increasing the personal income tax and imposing another tax on the natural gas industry to fund nearly $5 billion in new state spending.
But what we do know is that some entities have already been told to brace themselves for financial hardship, and these situations are likely to reach a boiling point as schools prepare to open for the year.
And while we’re speaking of schools, Gov. Wolf has said he wants new money from his proposed natural gas severance tax (which at more than 17 percent would have the highest effective rate in the nation) to go toward funding education. BUT, the bulk of the revenue from this proposal actually calls for a substantial portion to go toward payments for alternative energy subsidies, with not one dollar guaranteed to go toward education.
The PA Chamber is pointing out these facts as we lobby against another tax on our state’s fastest-growing industry. And, we’re in your corner as we fight for a budget deal that’s fair to the business community—one that does not spend beyond its means, does not include new tax increases and responsibly addresses Pennsylvania’s biggest cost-drivers. And we’re continuing to speak out about the negative impact Gov. Wolf’s misguided vetoes on the legislature’s budget plan, a liquor privatization bill and a pension reform measure will have on Pennsylvania’s economy.
Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.