For the past week, Democrat Dan Onorato has hammered away at Republican opponent Tom Corbett for saying he’d consider hiking employee contributions into Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation fund.
During the first gubernatorial debate, Attorney General Tom Corbett said he’d take a look at upping employee contributions, but he’d avoid increasing the amount companies pay into the fund.
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato said he’d consider both, in order to help pay back the billions of dollars Pennsylvania has borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment compensation.
Onorato says Corbett’s suggestion is the latest violation of the Republican’s vow not to raise taxes.
"The no tax pledge is purely a political stunt for him, because he signed it and got the press. But when he starts talking about governance, the first thing he said is, he would look at raising a tax on employees. And if he doesn’t see that as a violation of a no tax pledge, he simply doesn’t understand how state government works, or the tax pledge was actually an irrelevant document that he just did for a PR stunt."
Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley, disagrees, arguing the unemployment deduction isn’t a tax.
"The law clearly says it’s a contribution of both the employer and the employee, and it is essentially a premium that pays for insurance. It is not a tax in the sense that it goes into a general fund. "
Onorato and other Democrats counter anything that gets deducted from a person’s paycheck and goes to the government is a tax, though.
Earlier this year, the Republican said the pledge didn’t cover increased fees on vehicle registration and other items – despite saying the opposite a few months beforehand.