Government Watch

Article posted on February 14, 2007

Government Watch

STATE BUDGET: More taxes, more spending, and more government programs

June is budget month, when the legislature buckles down and tries to pass a budget satisfactory to everyone.  Unfortunately, this year we’re starting off somewhat handicapped by the Governor’s proposal.  While the Republicans in the State Senate are expressing a desire to keep spending down and not increase taxes, the Governor has proposed massive spending increases and seven new taxes.  The new taxes that the Governor would like to see are:

  • A 3% tax on the payroll of any company that does not provide health insurance.
  • A 10-cent increase in the cigarette tax.
  • A new tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars.
  • A new tax on electricity to fund alternative energy initiatives.
  • A 1% increase in the state sales tax.
  • An “oil profits tax” on the profit of all oil companies.
  • An increase in the fee for waste disposal.

The Governor’s budget also increases spending by roughly 4.4%, a simply unacceptable amount of growth for government.  I have co-sponsored the Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA), which would cap state spending at 3.2% this year.  While I believe that we should be pushing for cuts to the state budget, nothing above a 3.2% increase is acceptable. 

At a time when Pennsylvanians are tightening their belts and faced with huge increases in gas prices, our state government must be required to do the same. 

STATUS:  The House has sent over a budget that includes all of the Governor’s spending increases without raising the sales tax.  The House budget would require spending a project surplus, something that Republicans in the House and Senate have both spoken out against.

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