Governor Wolf Again Calls For Shale Tax in Budget Address

Governor Wolf Again Calls For Shale Tax in Budget Address

"Taking a business owner's approach to our budget, we were able to tighten our belts, cutting $2 billion by streamlining our bureaucracy and saving Pennsylvanians another $700 million by cracking down on fraud and abuse", Wolf said.

"That's something i'm willing to look at. Everywhere else - Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alaska - they're bringing in billions of dollars from the oil and gas industries". And administration officials hope to tuck even more money into the state's Rainy Day Fund, a kind of budget savings account for lean times.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday presented his 2018-19 budget proposal, a $33 billion plan that includes no increase in income and sales taxes, boosts basic education funding and keeps appropriations level for Penn State.

Turzai, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, wrote on Twitter that taxpayers should "suit up for battle" and called Wolf's budget proposal a "big tax hike" and "big spending hike".

With a budget focused on education and training to build a better workforce, the governor proposed next years budget to be almost $1 billion more than this year's, with spending set aside to improve Pennsylvania's roads and bridges, and dedicating more than $12 billion to health and human services.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-34 of Centre County, said in a statement that the new spending and tax initiatives "will not happen", but added that legislative leaders are "optimistic in seeing a number of shared priorities".

Even if Wolf's higher education funding falls short, he's still avoided a major controversy that's plagued his previous budgets - personal income tax increases.

"There is still a great deal of work to be done", Scarnati said.

"Yet we are the only one of those states without a severance tax".


"Businesses don't invest in states that don't invest in education, in infrastructure or job training", Wolf said. "If we have a serious emergency in the state, I'm not sure if we will have the resources to respond to it". "Sometimes, I've been forced to move forward on my own", Wolf says in a copy of his prepared remarks.

Even with the new spending, Wolf is projecting that the state will end the year with a $41 million balance, leaving the state in a position to transfer nearly $14 million into the state's Rainy Day Fund, according to administration estimates.

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center director Marc Stier said "good news is the budget is balanced on arrival, but he recognizes we have a long term fiscal problem, a long term public investment deficit, and we need some more tax revenue so he's again calling for a shale tax". His plan wouldn't change the rate until 2019-2020, when it would drop to 9.49 percent.

He's also seeking an increase in the state's minimum wage from the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour, which he says would save $100 million in social and human services costs.

The governor also is proposing $50 million for career and technical education in high schools and colleges.

- PENSIONS: Grows $275 million, or 9 percent, to $3.2 billion.

Causer, R-Turtlepoint, said he is also anxious about Wolf continuing efforts to place a severance tax on natural gas drilling, which Causer calls one of the top industries in rural Pennsylvania. Although neither side is looking for a repeat, it seems Democrats and Republicans are still at odds over a natural gas drilling tax.

Wolf is renewing his call, first made past year, to charge local governments $25 per capita for the cost of state police protection if they don't provide local police coverage. That would add 100 troopers to the existing complement of 4,200, Albright said. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association said it was pleased with an increase in state aid, but pointed out that school districts will still face a much larger increase in costs.

It took almost four months to resolve this year's budget.

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