Friday, August 6, 2010

Rendell: PA would “hardly notice” Fee Increase

Governor Ed Rendell spent four days this week touring the state in a bus trying to drum up support for increasing revenue for transportation. He started his day today in Pittsburgh. The transportation budget had a $472 million dollar hole put in it when the federal government refused a request to toll I-80. A subsequent study found the state is billions of dollars behind when it comes to making bridge and road repairs. Rendell says the legislature must find new revenues during a special session on transportation later this month, otherwise bus service across the state will be crippled and bridge and road repairs will fall even more behind. Rendell has put three ideas on the table for the legislature to consider. He says hardly anyone knows how much he or she pays in state gas taxes. The tax has not been raised since 1997 and Rendell says to keep up with inflation it could be increased by 3.5 cents. He says that will net $240 million dollars a year. Rendell also suggests increasing driver’s licenses and vehicle registration fees to keep pace with inflation. He says that would add another $327 million. Rendell’s third suggestion is to change the way big oil companies that sell gas in Pennsylvania pay taxes. He says those companies pay little or no corporate net income tax due to well known loop holes. He says he would like to make those companies exempt from the 9.9% CNI and instead create an “Oil Company Net Profits Tax of 6.9% with no loop holes. Rendell says that will net the state another $800 million a year. When the governor entered and left the PNC First side building, where he made his Pittsburgh stop, he was greeted by a small group of protesters asking him to not raise taxes until he gets discretionary capital spending under control. Rendell says the money spent on transportation and infrastructure creates jobs and helps the economy grow. Rendell called on everyone in the audience to contact their state legislators asking them to finding new sources of revenue for transportation. He says, “It is time for the legislature to suck it up and consider raising revenue.”

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