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Cradle-to-Grave Taxation: Central PA House Republicans Speak Out Against Wolf Tax Plan
6/1/2015
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania should not balance the budget or increase state spending on the backs of the most vulnerable.

That was the message from four Central Pennsylvania House Republicans in preparation for the state budget debate this week. Reps. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin/Lebanon), Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) and Seth Grove (R-York) spoke at a Susquehanna Township funeral home to highlight the many services that would face taxation under Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget.

“The governor’s proposal is a cradle-to-grave tax plan, since it taxes diapers to caskets and day care to nursing home care,” said Helm. “We should not tax funeral services, nursing care services or child care.”

House Majority Whip Cutler said the proposed expansion of the sales tax to such essential services would hurt middle-class and lower-income Pennsylvanians.

“It would be especially tough on the elderly and their families who pay a great deal for nursing home care, and it’s equally tough on young families who would pay more for day care when two parents work to make ends meet,” Cutler said. “We cannot balance the budget and even increase spending on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens.”
“Placing a 6.6 percent tax on child care costs would be an enormous burden on families,” said Delozier. “Those costs can already consume a third of the wages for a family of four. For some families, child care costs can be higher than rent, or as high as their mortgage costs.”

A budget proposed by House Republicans would rely on cost controls, pension reform and revenues from liquor privatization to close the gap on the state’s estimated $1.3 billion deficit.

“The Wolf proposal would increase the state budget by 16 percent,” said Cutler. “That’s not responsible, nor is it realistic to increase taxes on Pennsylvania families and employers by $9 billion. We can fund education and other essential state services without breaking the backs of the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians.”

Grove said the Wolf budget is bad for young adults as well. In the area of higher education, a 6.6 percent sales tax on meal plans, textbooks and other college costs would mean an additional $428 in costs for college students in the State System of Higher Education. The tax could be higher for other colleges or universities.

“The college taxes are greater than the average student’s gain from the governor’s proposed boost in higher education spending,” Grove said.

“Even the cost of calculating taxes would increase,” Grove added, “as accounting, legal and other professional services would be taxed under this plan.”

The lawmakers also refuted Wolf Administration claims that most Pennsylvanians would benefit from property tax reductions under his proposal.

“The opposite is true,” said Grove. “It is not a dollar-for-dollar reduction. Dollar-for-dollar reduction means every dollar raised in new taxes goes to directly reduce school property taxes. Out of the $12.7 billion raised by the Governor's proposed 550 new taxes and current taxes, only $3.2 billion goes back to school property tax reductions. That is called a tax grab, not a dollar-for-dollar reduction.”

The House members will be spending the month of June working on a responsible state budget. The state fiscal year ends June 30.

Representative Sue Helm
104th District
Representative Bryan Cutler
100th District
Representative Sheryl Delozier
88thth District
Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tom Pyne
717.798.1694
tpyne@pahousegop.com
Rick Leiner
717.497.8478
rleiner@pahousegop.com
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