State Government Update – February 9th, 2016

Volume 8 Edition 14

PJC Mission Statement: The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition (PJC), working individually and collectively with others, represents Pennsylvania’s Jewish communities before state government and with other Pennsylvanians. Jewish values guide the PJC’s focus on issues of importance to these communities, including public social policies and funding and regulation of the delivery of human service


Pennsylvania Fiscal Year 16-17 Budget Proposal – $2.72 billion increase for the House and Senate to Consider . . . Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has presented his budget proposal for Pennsylvania’s upcoming fiscal year (which is from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017). As Governor and House/ Senate leaders continue to negotiate the current budget – addressing the $7 billion shortfall, they now have to start considering the new budget proposal.

The Governor’s proposal is for a $33.2 billion budget (a $2.72 billion increase from the current budget version being debated). To gather the needed revenue for his expenses, Governor Wolf is asking the Legislature to consider a (an):

  • Increase in the Personal Income Tax (PIT) from 3.07 – 3.40 and inclusion of a PIT on lottery winners
  • Expansion of the sales tax in Pennsylvania to include basic cable/ movie tickets/ downloads
  • Increase in gaming tax on slots and table games
  • Increase in cigarette tax and expansion to include smokeless tobacco, cigars, e-cigarettes
  • Increase in the bank share tax
  • Tax on fire, property, & casualty insurance
  • 6.5% tax on oil and gas drilling – severance tax

As expected, the House and Senate Republican leaders have expressed their concerns regarding the proposed budget increase, tax increases, and new taxes — at a time when the current budget has still not been resolved due to arguments in budget increases, tax increases, and new taxes.

  • Pennsylvania Senate (30 Republicans – 19 Democrats -1 vacancy)
    The Pennsylvania Senate Republicans have indicated that they will not look at any budget increase nor a tax increase (new taxes included) unless pension reform is included
  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives (118 Republicans – 82 Democrats – 3 vacancies)
    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Republicans have indicated concerns regarding a tax increase (of any kind – and new taxes) at this time

Over the next several weeks, the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriation Committees will be holding budget hearings with the numerous departments and agencies of the Administration to discuss their line items in the budget proposal as well as their current activities.