State Budget and Taxes

Senator from York Predicts a Recession

If you were getting bored by the never ending budget process, a flurry of colorful metaphors by “Fightin” Sen. Scott Wagner of York County added a more circus like element to the standoff. I just wanted to highlight an interesting argument in the Senator’s letter to Capitolwire about the current state of the economy. According to the Senator:

Gas Drillers New Year's Eve

On New Year’s Eve, Miss Smith walked out through the automatic sliding doors of the grocery store where she worked as a cashier and pulled her scarf to her nose as the December wind hit her face. Glad to be done with the last shift of 2015, she walked briskly toward her parents’ house where she had lived for the last three years.

Before she lost her job as an art teacher for the local school, she had her own apartment. But her salary at the grocery store was not enough to allow her to afford her own place after she made her student loan and car payments.

A New Year's Resolution for PA Lawmakers - Pass a Fiscally Responsible State Budget

It turns out we're not the only ones waiting for a responsible Pennsylvania state budget that actually raises the revenue the state needs to pay its debts -- and also to adequately fund education, infrastructure and human services. 

The rating agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P), is also waiting for a fiscally responsible budget.

Why conservatives can like Pennsylvania's personal income tax

Rumors of a sudden interest on the part of Republicans in raising the personal Income tax (PIT) instead of the sales tax to meet the revenue requirements of the budget framework have floated across 3rd Street to our offices at the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. So I’m going to do something unusual for us—and frankly a bit uncomfortable—and give some conservative arguments for preferring the PIT over the sales tax. 

Backroom budget deal attempts to derail environmental regulations

The Pennsylvania Senate today passed the Fiscal Code, a must-pass piece of legislation that is part of the budget process. It contains provisions that would subvert Pennsylvania’s climate plan and gas drilling regulations and raid $12 million from the Alternative Energy Investment Act to create a new “Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund” providing more taxpayer help to an industry that still doesn’t pay a severance tax in Pennsylvania.

Unintended Consequences? Property Tax Elimination Increases Taxes on the Middle Class to Reduce Taxes for high income families

The budget end game has focused a lot on property tax cuts. The budget framework agreement includes property tax relief, the allocation of which has not yet been worked out. And now the Pennsylvania Senate will consider SB 76, a bill to eliminate school property taxes early next week. Property tax elimination would be paid for by raising the sales tax rate to 7 percent and expanding it to cover more services, and by raising the personal income tax rate to 4.34 percent.

October Payrolls Up Overall but Down in Mining, Logging and Schools

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was down slightly to 5.1 percent, and nonfarm payrolls were up by 13,700 jobs last month, each from their respective September levels.

After two months of declines in nonfarm payrolls, the return to growth in October was  a welcome change.

Who Pays For An Increase in the Sales Tax: Analysis of the Tax Incidence of an Increase in the Sales Tax from 6% to 7.25%

Today we released new analysis of the tax incidence of a proposal to raise the state sales tax rate from 6% to 7.25%.  Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders are currently negotiating over the terms of a plan to cut property taxes which would be financed by this sales tax increase.

What's It to Be on Property Tax Relief, PA Lawmakers? Reverse Robin Hood or Relief for Renters and Middle-Class Homeowners

This is an appeal to legislators in rural parts of Pennsylvania and in high-property tax areas such as the Poconos: we think that the evidence shows clearly that your constituents would benefit more from distributing the property tax relief promised by the tentative budget framework in a fair way, including a rebate for renters. There is a danger, however, that this relief will be distributed in an unfair way, without a renter rebate and with much tax relief going to businesses and high-income homeowners.

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