Gov. Tom Wolf called on the legislature to cut state income taxes for many families and businesses while increasing tax for others. It was part of his annual budget address delivered through video rather than in person.
Governor Tom Wolf wants more money from hard working Americans
Pennsylvania’s state income tax is a flat tax — 3.07 percent — one of the lowest in the nation. The governor wants to hike that to 4.49 percent but at the same time lower or hold taxes even for two-thirds of state taxpayers.
Instead of the traditional ceremony presenting his budget to a joint session of the legislature, during this pandemic Wolf delivered a pretty slick video with graphs and pictures from his residence to an audience broader than lawmakers.
“Today I am talking to you, all my fellow Pennsylvanians,” said Wolf in his video.
Promising tax cuts to most Pennsylvanians through a special tax forgiveness program, the governor proposed hiking the state income tax, but noted, “If you are married with two kids and earn less than $84,000 a year, I suggest we give you a tax cut.”
A family of four making less than $50,000 would pay no state income tax at all. Wolf also proposes cutting the state’s corporate tax rate, too.
“My plan cuts taxes for businesses by 25 percent. No longer will we ask the businesses that power our economy to pay the highest rate in the nation.”
Even with the tax cuts, a higher income tax rate would bring in about $7 billion more, allowing the governor to boost state funding for schools by twenty percent.
Yesterday, I gave my 2021 budget address and laid out my plan to get Pennsylvania back on track.
We still have a lot of work to do, but this will help us build a stronger foundation for our commonwealth.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) February 4, 2021
Pennsylvania Democrats pushing for tax hike
“No matter how great a parent you are, if your local school district lacks the resources it needs to provide your kids with a quality education, well, that’s a barrier to getting them a better life,” he said.
Republican lawmakers were skeptical of what, with federal pandemic money, adds up to a $40 billion budget plan.
“A little bit of shock, seeing a 46 percent increase in the PIT, personal income tax, while we’re going through a pandemic,” Pa. Rep. George Dunbar, a Penn Township resident, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Dunbar is the chair of the House Republican Caucus.
“I believe you will see the Republicans draft their own budget in negotiations with the Governor,” says the Westmoreland County lawmaker.
You can find more information about the governor’s proposal here.