Pennsylvania Families Come First in Alternative Budget

Jan Jarrett |

This week, Rep. DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) unveiled the Roadmap for a Stronger Pennsylvania, a sound alternative to the budget that was proposed by the governor. The Roadmap gets us on the way toward a responsible, sustainable state spending plan that makes critical investments in education, health care and communities and delays unaffordable tax cuts.

Pennsylvania families come first in this commonsense approach to the budget. It raises desperately-needed revenue from a severance tax and a tax on smokeless tobacco and E-cigarettes; closes corporate tax loopholes and freezes the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax; and fully enforces sales taxes from internet sales. The combination of new taxes, new program revenue and corporate tax cut rollbacks will make more than $1.1 billion available for crucial state investments.

These include: $360 million from a 4.9 percent severance tax on natural gas extraction; $35 million from a tax on the sale of E-cigarettes; $35 million from a tax on the sale of smokeless tobacco; $120 million from closing corporate tax loopholes; $75 million from delaying the reduction in the Capital Stock and Franchise tax; and, $100 million from fully-collected internet sales tax.

By refusing to leave money on the table, Rep. DiGirolamo’s budget proposal will allow the state to invest in education and health and human services that Pennsylvania families need and want. It would boost funding for basic education and community colleges, health care, veterans housing, crime fighting and drug treatment.

The Roadmap investments include: $20 million for special education; $20 million for community colleges; $3 million for pre-kindergarten; $1.4 million for health programs; $3 million for veterans housing; and, $20 million for emergency drug and alcohol treatment.

The Roadmap for a Stronger Pennsylvania also foregoes one-time revenue-raising gimmicks like expanding gas drilling in state forests. Instead, the Roadmap puts into place stable, recurring revenue sources to responsibly addresses major structural weaknesses in our state budget and prepare us for a future where prosperity can be widely shared by our families and communities.