Following Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address today for the 2021-22 fiscal year, Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) voiced her concern with his $40.2 billion spending plan which is a $3.05 billion – or 8.2% - increase over last fiscal year. She issued this statement:
“While so many of our businesses and employees have already suffered greatly, and sacrificed so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are deserving of help. The funding to cover the governor’s proposed budget increase cannot just appear out of nowhere. The governor needs to be much more transparent about who will really end up footing the bill. The truth is, that a tax increase on anyone is a tax increase on everyone.
“Our top priority must be getting a COVID-19 vaccine deployed and enabling people to go back to work safely. Getting people back to work does not start by raising taxes on the assets which will get us back to work safely. The best way to start rebuilding our economy is to make government more accountable to the money they are entrusted to spend. Right now, Pennsylvania ranks 44 out of 50 states for vaccine distribution according to Becker’s Hospital Review, and so many people are still unemployed or underemployed with a system that has failed repeatedly to operate efficiently.
“No amount of funding will enable people to fully recover if money can’t be spent wisely and people can’t get back to work. Yet, the governor is proposing that economic recovery starts by raising taxes.
“Increasing the Personal Income Tax (PIT) a whopping 46% to gain an additional $7 billion for new spending is simply irresponsible and short sighted. Most individuals and small businesses are subject to the PIT. The governor’s plan would increase taxes on the same people we are trying to get back to work and on the people who provide the jobs.
“Just like his last six budget proposals, Gov. Wolf is once again advocating to double tax the oil and gas industry, which was designated as critical infrastructure at the beginning of the pandemic. Pennsylvania’s current tax on natural gas, the impact fee, will have generated more than $2 billion since 2012. Adding a severance tax will further damage our region’s economy. Furthermore, natural gas is used as the base material for many plastics, which are critical for personal protective equipment (PPE) development and vaccine deployment and research. We should not be adding increased burdens on an industry that has stepped up during this pandemic to meet unprecedented medical needs and help get a vaccine developed in record time. The governor’s inability to control spending shouldn’t be a burden to the average Pennsylvanian.
“Last year, we kept our commitment to funding education without raising taxes. We plan on keeping that commitment again this year.
“These are tough times for all Pennsylvanians. More taxes and more spending is not the direction for the Commonwealth. I look forward to coming together in the next few months and crafting a budget that is more responsible to our taxpayers.”
To view Rep. Gaydos’ comments following Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address, click here.
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner