Op-Ed: Taxes, Taxes and Taxes

Pennsylvania ranks in the top 10 in tax burden among all states, according to the Commonwealth Foundation, and there have been five tax hikes in the past 11 years.

This is unacceptable, and that’s why I am in Harrisburg, fighting on your behalf.

Enough is enough.

As the Governor unveils his proposed budget, I will be paying close attention to see if the administration’s priorities align with those of the 33rd Senate District.

Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric you hear on television that Pennsylvania is the “only state that does not tax the natural gas industry.”

This is a fallacy.

The fact of the matter is that this industry is already subject to an “impact fee,” on top of every other applicable state tax.

Imposing additional taxation on the natural gas industry would make Pennsylvania among the highest, if not number one, in applicable taxes and put PA out of line with neighboring states.

We have also heard that the Governor would like to levy a tax on boroughs and townships that lack a municipal police force.

This taxation would supposedly underwrite the cost of providing State Police service to those municipalities.

In reality, the “police impact fee” wouldn’t come anywhere close to covering that cost and would nearly bankrupt many small municipalities, who simply cannot afford this ill-thought proposal.

The Governor’s latest attempt at raising our taxes comes in the form of the multi-state Transportation & Climate Initiative. While the vision has merit, raising the gas tax by 17 cents – which is part of this plan – is an absurd solution.

I am not convinced that the modeling and data that have been presented as part of this plan are factually supported by science. Our gas tax is already high – – – this appetite in Harrisburg to continuously tax us needs to stop.

Everyone remembers Act 89 of 2013, which was sold to taxpayers as the panacea that would fix our state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Seven years later, our infrastructure is still in deplorable condition and our state’s gas tax remains one of the nation’s highest.

I plan to keep a keen eye on the budget deliberations, which begin later this month and continue through March.

I will not support any budget that raises your taxes on our hard-working families.

Pennsylvania’s stature as a top ten state in tax burden is an embarrassment. It is time to get the Harrisburg bureaucracy off our backs and out of our wallets.

Senator Mastriano represents the 33rd District in the Pennsylvania Senate. The District includes Adams County and parts of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.

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