Proposal would cost local taxpayers more than $170 million
- Members of the Chester County House delegation announced their opposition to the budget plan proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf, which would have a net negative impact on Chester County taxpayers of $177 million.
Last month, the governor presented his ideal state spending plan, a $33.8 billion budget that relies on major tax increases and increased borrowing. As proposed, Wolf’s budget would spend state taxpayer dollars at unprecedented levels, and represents a 16 percent increase with $4.7 billion in new spending this year alone.
Wolf has also proposed increasing the Personal Income Tax (PIT) by 21 percent, as well as raising the sales tax to 6.6 percent and expanding it to include products and services never before taxed.
On the steps of the Chester County Courthouse, Reps. Warren Kampf (R-157), Duane Milne (R-167), Becky Corbin (R-155), Tim Hennessey (R-26) and Dan Truitt (R-156) were joined by Chester County Commissioners Terence Farrell and Michelle Kichline in voicing their concerns over the proposal’s impact on Chester County.
“I am an engineer by trade which means I deal in facts and figures," said Truitt in outlining the proposals tax and spending increases. "After the General Assembly's Appropriations hearings, the figures show that in Chester County almost everyone will pay more from day one. That's a fact, and it means the Governor's plan is wrong for our families and seniors."
"Under the Governor's plan, raising a child – really just providing the very basics – just got more expensive. So did college. Being sick and getting better will cost more too. Even dying," Milne explained. "Basically, the Governor's plan makes everyday life more expensive for every Pennsylvanian, and especially costs Chester County more."
Milne's comments came while outlining how Wolf's sales tax increase and expansion proposal will include new items such as diapers, baby food, daycare, non-prescription drugs, textbooks, college room and board, in-home nursing care, rehab facility stays, and even funeral services to name just a few.
"After the budget hearings in Harrisburg, it has become quite clear that while the Governor offers the promise of 'property tax relief,' his plan doesn't actually achieve it," Hennessey stated. "Instead, the vast majority of school districts across our state will pay more in sales and income taxes than they will get back in property tax relief. Here in Chester County, that amount is $177 million in the first year alone. Worst of all, even as sales and income taxes rise, so may property taxes continue to."
Hennessey was quoting figures from the House created website www.taxpayersthatpay.com
which show that taxpayers in 11 of Chester County's 12 school districts will see net tax increases under the Wolf proposal – all while property taxes remain unchecked. Overall, residents in 404 of 500 school districts will end up paying more in taxes than what they receive back in property tax relief.
Corbin focused on the Wolf proposal's negative impact on the small and medium businesses that drive both Chester County's and the state's economy.
“In Pennsylvania, 70-80 percent of businesses are taxed at the state’s Personal Income Tax rate,” Corbin said. “These are often sole proprietorships - the local mom-and-pop operations that are the lifeblood of our communities. The proposed tax plan could drive many of them out of business and force others to scale back both production and payroll.”
Kampf concluded the event by outlining both the group's priorities – specifically outlining job creation, education, and fiscal discipline – and its belief in the need to address cost drivers such as pension reform, as well as alternative revenue sources such as the sale of the state's liquor system before turning to taxpayers for more.
"We are not unreasonable, but this proposal is so far beyond what makes sense. It is so far beyond what is good for the working men and women of Chester County - and good for our local job creators - that we cannot sit idly by and let it go unanswered," Kampf said. "The only priority this budget has is more government spending and higher taxes - on Chester County especially – to pay for it. That is something we cannot support."
Representative Warren Kampf
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster