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Sales Tax

NEWS
November 25, 2015
I'M SURE, like me, you're shocked to find today's deadline for a new state budget is passing without resolution. It is - like reason, wisdom and political acumen in the capital city - absent without leave. Hard to believe since just last week Gov. Wolf said he'd sign a new budget bill today. That could have met projections by legislative leaders who agreed their agreed-to "framework" for new spending and taxes would be law Thanksgiving Day. Not happening. It's tempting to say "what a buncha turkeys" but that would be obvious and cliche.
NEWS
November 24, 2015
STORM CLOUDS are gathering in Harrisburg over the deal to settle the long state budget impasse. While one group of legislators is still working with Gov. Wolf on hammering out the details of the $30.6 billion plan, another group has launched a maneuver that could kill the whole deal. If that happens it will mean no state budget for the foreseeable future and almost certainly a shutdown of schools and social-service agencies across the state beginning in January - which is when they run out of time and money.
NEWS
November 23, 2015 | By Matthew Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania soon might raise its statewide sales-tax rate to the second highest in the nation, a move that experts say would hit low-income residents the hardest while making local businesses less competitive with neighbors in Delaware and New Jersey. And in Philadelphia, where a local sales tax is also imposed, the rate would be the second highest among America's 10 most populous cities. A framework to end the months-long budget impasse between Gov. Wolf and Republican legislators in Harrisburg includes increasing the sales-tax rate - from 6 percent, to 7.25 percent - to raise $2 billion in new revenue.
NEWS
November 20, 2015 | By Matthew Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - It might be a wake-up call to anyone expecting a smooth path to a final state budget. Senate Republicans plan to vote next week on a proposal to eliminate property taxes as a source of school revenue and replace them with hikes in the sales and personal income taxes. And the bill's key sponsor says he has support from both parties. "You don't reform property taxes," Sen. David Argall (R., Berks) said Wednesday. "The only solution is to eliminate them. " Even if his measure fails, its emergence could signal cracks in the tentative $30 billion budget deal Gov. Wolf and Republican legislative leaders touted last week.
NEWS
November 18, 2015 | By Matthew Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - Although the months-long impasse over a state budget seems poised to end, a final spending plan probably won't be enacted until December, Gov. Wolf said Monday. In a radio interview, the governor said he had hoped the deal on the $30 billion budget would be complete by Thanksgiving - as he and legislative leaders said last week - but called "more realistic" the prediction by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) that a budget will not be finalized until next month.
NEWS
November 17, 2015
THERE WAS A SENSE of relief last week when Gov. Wolf and Republican legislative leaders announced a tentative agreement on a new state budget. Our first reaction was, better late than never. The state had gone five months without the ability to spend because of the stalemate in Harrisburg, forcing school districts to borrow money to keep operating and social-service agencies to furlough workers. Details about the deal are hard to come by because it is not completely worked out, though the governor has said he is hopeful a budget bill can be signed before Thanksgiving.
NEWS
November 17, 2015
PICKING A POLITICAL winner in the budget "framework" announced with few details last week in Harrisburg is a little like playing fantasy football. All the right issues (just like players) are in the game - liquor, pensions, schools and taxes - but how they play out is anybody's guess. Philadelphia, for example, stands to win more money for schools. But a proposed hike in the sales tax from an already statewide high of 8 percent to 9.25 percent is a loss for city residents and retailers.
NEWS
November 16, 2015
ISSUE | PA. BUDGET Don't hike sales tax A sales tax is the most regressive tax you can enact. Poor and working-class people generally spend 100 percent of their income on the necessities of living. Many of those purchases are taxed. Affluent people have the luxury of saving or investing a portion of their income. Any way you do the math, a much larger percentage of a poor person's income goes to sales tax than that of an affluent person. There is no downside to tax natural gas drilling.
NEWS
October 8, 2015
LET'S CALL IT "Tom Wolf's Big Adventure. " Not that he's starting to look like a political Pee Wee Herman (though, candidly, some suggest that). But like Pee Wee's prized tricked-out bike stolen in the classic 1985 film, Wolf's plan for higher taxes could get hijacked as soon as today. If things go as scheduled (always a question), the Republican-controlled House is set to vote on administration tax proposals. If the vote is "no," that could end big tax increases peddled by the Democratic guv. Wolf says the budget, overdue since July 1, can't be balanced without a jump in a broad-based tax, such as the PIT (personal income tax)
NEWS
October 7, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - In one of the first major concessions in the three-month Pennsylvania budget impasse, Gov. Wolf on Tuesday backed off his demand to raise the state sales tax, but is still pushing for new education funding by hiking the personal income tax and imposing a new tax on natural gas drillers. Republicans said the changes were unlikely to help the plan pass a critical House vote Wednesday. GOP leaders have called for the vote to show the Democratic governor his proposals to hike broad-based taxes - sales and personal income - lack support.
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