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Sales Tax

NEWS
November 30, 2015
ISSUE | PA. BUDGET STALEMATE Time for a mediator Because there appears to be no discernible process working in the Pennsylvania budget negotiations, I sent a letter on Nov. 23 to Gov. Wolf, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody urging them to use a mediator. Given that negotiations have extended over the past five months and continue today, the assistance of a mediator is warranted. That does not mean I am unappreciative of the negotiators' time and effort.
NEWS
November 28, 2015
ISSUE | PA. POLITICS Broken promise When questions arise as to why we have fewer and fewer people voting in nearly every election, Gov. Wolf is a perfect example. One of his primary campaign pledges was that he would require natural-gas extraction companies to pay a severance tax. We are the only major gas-producing state that does not have such a tax. That promise was a leading reason I voted for him, and I am sure I was not alone. Now, his willingness to give up on the severance tax is made worse by his looking to get the needed funds by increasing the most regressive tax we have - the sales tax. It hits poor people the hardest.
NEWS
November 26, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Chris Palmer, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - After a day of jockeying - both in public and behind closed doors - Gov. Wolf and Republican leaders clung Tuesday night to their tenuous state budget agreement, and said they would work through the weekend to fortify the deal. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) emerged from Wolf's office in the evening to declare the so-called framework still on track, hours after Republicans had threatened a vote to override Wolf's veto of their temporary spending plan.
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.
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