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Sales Tax

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.
NEWS
October 6, 2015
GOOD NEWS, I've figured out how to solve Pennsylvania's budget mess. In a nutshell - and, trust me, there are lots of nuts involved - it's big new spending without big new taxes. Democratic Gov. Wolf gets to keep his promise of more money for schools and such. Republicans running the Legislature get to keep their fiscal fidelity. It's a win-win. How, you might ask? Concede Republicans have the votes to stop new broad-based taxes; then grab money that's already there and pick up some that should be. For example, a little known fact.
NEWS
July 16, 2015
THE GREAT WHITE Whale of Pennsylvania politics, the property tax, is swimming away from yet another effort to kill or curtail it. This despite Gov. Wolf and Republicans saying they want reform and want it now and, my goodness, how historic it'll be. Yet this bipartisan goal, presenting opportunity for bipartisan credit, is poised to join many other reforms in a capital city known best as a graveyard of good ideas. Why? Tradition and politics. The tax is regressive and loathed; unfair to those on fixed incomes; complex due to uneven assessments across 67 counties; challenging for poorer school districts struggling to raise local money; and wildly different across the state.
NEWS
July 13, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Sam Janesch, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's nearly two-week budget impasse comes down to one word: Taxes. Throughout negotiations, Democratic Gov. Wolf has uttered the dreaded T-word that Republicans who control the legislature have studiously spent the last four years avoiding. Personal income taxes. Sales taxes. Cigarette taxes. Bank shares taxes. A tax on natural gas drillers. Wolf has proposed hiking them all to erase what has become a recurring deficit in every budget cycle, raise more money for public schools, and finance a bold but controversial plan to lower property taxes in every district.
NEWS
July 12, 2015 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
The city controller on Friday rejected Philadelphia's five-year budget and called on the city's state-appointed fiscal watchdog to do the same, saying the plan overestimates tax revenues and could lead to a deficit. Controller Alan Butkovitz said the budget makes flawed estimates for the business income and receipts tax, sales tax, real estate transfer tax, and parking tax. In asking the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) to reject the budget, Butkovitz said economic conditions are predicted to be less favorable over the next few years than the city's projections.
NEWS
May 14, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Two measures dealing with issues that are key to any state budget deal - property taxes and pensions - began moving through the legislature Tuesday, with lawmakers pushing for swift action on both. The House began debate on a multibillion-dollar property-tax relief measure whose prospects are uncertain, while the Senate is poised to vote on a Republican-backed proposal to rein in the cost of public-employee pensions. Both bills are up for final passage Wednesday, after which legislators will break until June, when budget talks with Gov. Wolf will begin in earnest.
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