– Following the governor’s first budget address to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) today expressed her concerns about the high level of spending and numerous tax increases on working families included in the plan.
The governor proposed a $33.8 billion plan that assumes a 16 percent rate of growth. Much of the plan will be funded through double-digit increases to the sales, personal income and cigarette taxes with a new levy on smokeless tobacco.
“After hearing the governor’s priorities for this year’s budget, I can certainly agree that his vision is extremely ambitious, and many areas, such as education, public safety and economic development, are worthy of additional consideration for funding,” Oberlander said. “However, my eyes keep being drawn to the overall price tag and how that will negatively impact the people of our district. Our local residents cannot afford hundreds of dollars more being taken out of their wallets each year, and that is the part of this proposal that greatly concerns me.”
In addition to a number of tax increases, the 2015-16 budget proposal calls for an expansion of the sales tax to include professional services and family needs, such as diapers and day care, and the implementation of a severance tax on natural gas wells.
Oberlander noted that today’s address is just the start of the annual budget process, and next week begins a series of hearings with every state department and agency to examine funding increases and spending priorities.
“As a former member of the House Appropriations Committee, I know firsthand the importance of these hearings and how they will shape the discussion regarding the collective priorities of the governor, the Senate and the House,” she continued. “We all share the goal in moving our Commonwealth forward, and I am optimistic we can reach that end without placing undue financial burdens on those who pay the bill – the taxpayers.”
Additional details about the governor’s budget plan are available at www.pahousegop.com
Representative Donna Oberlander
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton