Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A week after an anti-tax rally filled the Capitol rotunda; the other side got its turn. A coalition led by the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center made the case for a personal income tax increase. Director Sharon Ward says a budget balanced solely by cuts would eliminate too many valuable services. She says, “To keep your libraries open, to make sure you’re not paying more for your grandmother who’s in a nursing home, or to keep local property taxes down—it’s probably a worthwhile investment.” Matt Brouillette, the president of the conservative Commonwealth Foundation, disagrees with that premise. He says, the problem that we have in Harrisburg is not a lack of revenue, it’s a lack of priorities and how we spend that.” Brouillette points to a tax credit for the film industry as one example of misplaced government priorities. Upping the income tax by one percentage point would mean a 500-dollar tax increase for a Pennsylvania resident making 50-thousand dollars a year. Governor Ed Rendell is touring the state today proposing a half-percent earned income tax increase.