Gov. Wolf’s earnings tax hike impacts us all

The State Capitol in Harrisburg is shown on July 10, 2017.

When Governor Tom Wolf held his penultimate household address earlier this month, it reminded me of his first household address when he proposed a complete overhaul of the Commonwealth’s tax structure to use more of your money on drastically increasing government spending. I think we all remember how his 2015 budget proposal sparked a nine-month budget blockade that ended in one of the most conservative budgets passed under Wolf’s tenure.

Wolf’s most recent budget proposal has a similar principle in which, with the support of his democratic allies, he seeks an unconstitutional tax system to turn our flat income tax into a progressive income tax for redistributing wealth, a hallmark of socialist politics. Fortunately for Pennsylvanians, our state constitution prohibits a progressive income tax. Unfortunately, the governor and his democratic allies don’t care about our constitution and instead try their best to violate it.

According to our constitution, taxes must be uniform with a few exceptions: poverty, disability, infirmity and old age. Wolf is trying to increase the tax refund, so-called special provisions for poverty, and raise the income threshold well below poverty, while at the same time the income tax rate is increased by 46.3% from 3.07% to 4.49%.

Every single Pennsylvanian will find his / her takeaway salary drop and feel the effects of that tax hike. The special provision Wolf tries to manipulate is a refund program that taxpayers receive at the end of the tax year. This means that regardless of income, any taxpayer will see their state tax liability increase by 46.3%. After Wolf makes his cut, some taxpayers receive a larger tax return. Wolf and his democratic allies disingenuously want you to believe you are paying less taxes. This is wrong and they know it.

In addition, the poverty exception is obviously violated by the uniformity clause in our state constitution. Since 1973 the federal and state governments have used the federal poverty line as a means-tested eligibility standard. If we compare Wolf’s new progressive tax system to federal poverty, we will see that a single person can earn $ 64,000 a year and receive a refund well above the 400% mark of $ 51,520, the highest billed rate the Federal government sets the federal poverty line. Any single person who makes $ 64,000 annually is by no means impoverished, except under the eyes of the Wolf Administration. Wolf’s tax system goes beyond any measure of poverty.

With Pennsylvanians still suffering economically from Wolf’s draconian economic stalemate, now is no time to further hurt families and small businesses. Please note that the Republicans of the House do not support this unconstitutional tax and spending system. Please know that the Republicans in the House will have solid financial policies in place to balance our budget.

I hope this illustrates how Wolf and his democratic allies’ massive tax system will affect you. Please contact your representative and senator and ask them to reject Wolf’s unconstitutional tax proposal.

Republican Seth Grove represents the 196th legislative district, which serves parts of York County.

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