Wolf proposes income tax increase for some

Written by on February 4, 2021

Wolf proposes income tax increase for some

By Sam Dunklau / WITF

February 4, 2021

Screenshot of Gov. Wolf’s budget address.

Gov. Tom Wolf is kicking off debate over the next state budget by proposing a nearly $38 billion funding plan, an 11% increase in state spending over 2020.

Listen to the story.

In an optimistic, pre-recorded speech, Wolf urged state lawmakers to make bold choices to help Pennsylvania recover from the coronavirus pandemic and prepare for life post-pandemic.

To take those steps, the governor suggests spending an extra $1.3 billion for basic education and $3 billion more on economic recovery and community investment.

But to pay for a lot of it, Wolf wants to raise the personal income tax to nearly 4.5%, up from 3, while at the same time expanding tax breaks so two thirds of Pennsylvanians won’t have to pay more.

“This is about asking folks who have already made it to shoulder a little more of the burden so that folks who haven’t made it yet have a better chance to do so,” 

“Nobody likes paying [taxes], but I think we can all agree that some things can only be accomplished with everybody chipping in: repairing roads and bridges, keeping our communities safe, and, of course, giving every child in this Commonwealth the education they need to thrive,” Wolf says. 

Other funding ideas, like legalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage, have not found favor in the Republican-controlled legislature in the past, and likely won’t in the months ahead.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate say Wolf’s spending plan is both a “non-starter” and “dead on arrival,” arguing it should be more focused on reopening the economy and coronavirus vaccine distribution. Additionally, they say any increase in income taxes now will do more harm than good.

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