Tom Wolf’s tax plan

Gov Wolf Briefing 01_DSC1445

Yeah, I can’t figure out what Gov. Tom Wolf’s up to, either. Will Bunch:

The reports say that Wolf wants to cut corporate tax rates but reduce loopholes, lower the property tax burden but increase both the state income tax and sales taxes. That would be a radical change in the way Pennsylvania does business. But it also feels like a betrayal to Wolf’s supposed progressive ideals. The corporate tax plan may be sound — most experts agree the real problem is not the rate but the loopholes that allows many firms not to pay them, so a more equitable system would be an upgrade.

But the leaked details on the income tax and sales tax proposals make no sense. Most experts will tell you that one of the biggest problems in Pennsylvania is income inequality — and our tax policy contributes to that. (The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ranks Pennsylvania as the 8th most regressive state in the nation.) Our current flat income tax — a conservative wet dream — means that the CEO of Comcast pays state income taxes as the same rate as the janitor that cleans his office. The massive change that’s needed is a move to a progressive tax, so that the wealthy pay a bigger share. And higher sales taxes are a non-starter — especially if the taxes are expanded to more family necessities such as clothing, as some reports have suggested. The sales tax is the most regressive tax in the fiscal toolbox — falling heaviest on the poor who spend a greater share of their income on basic goods.

Of course, the chances of the Republicans who control both houses of the Legislature signing off on this are about equal to the chances that the University of Tampa beats the Phillies the 2014-15 76ers will make the playoffs. That’s understood. But tomorrow’s budget address is a chance for Wolf to present his vision, to go bold. So if you’re going for bold, why not get it right? A tax plan that makes life even harder for Pennsylvania’s middle class and working poor is, to use this week’s buzzword, highly illogical.

If’s fun to have a governor on Viagra, but fixing Pennsylvania’s complicated tax problems don’t need increased blood flow so much as better focus, For this, it might require a governor on Adderall.

One thought on “Tom Wolf’s tax plan

  1. Almost every Democrat is a “progressive” on social issues. But as soon as fiscal issues arise they turn into the Capitalist Republicans that they truly are.
    Millionaire Tom Wolf is no different. You don’t amass multi-millions of dollars of wealth by being a Progressive. If you do then you are the exception that proves the rule. In Tom Wolf’s case he’s not the exception.
    Democrats like Wolf really don’t believe in the Marxist theory of a progressive income tax. They believe in the Steve Forbes theory of a flat tax.
    Democrats like Wolf believe in a “safety net” for the poor and disenfranchised. But they also believe that the oligarchy (1%) should be allowed to keep all of its accumulated wealth because, after all, the 99% had not part whatsoever in its acquisition.
    Tom Wolf is the same kind of Progressive that Hillary Clinton is. Which is a Republican Progressive and that’s a contradiction in terms.

Comments are closed.