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Monday, May 30, 2011

Are the states forcing the local governments to raise taxes?

If your taxes go up, then does it matter who raised them?
Our new governor’s performance has so far been disappointing. First he continued to refuse to put new taxes on the rich shale gas companies despoiling our forests and waters, then he submits a budget the cuts deeply into useful programs in the commonwealth. The gas tax could have saved many of these programs.
During the campaign he promised to cut the walking around money (WAMs) used by the legislators to curry favor within their districts. His budget for the next fiscal year retains them. Whatever you think of WAMs, and there are good arguments for and against, it’s money that could have been used otherwise.
One bad promise kept, one good one broken.
He’s repeatedly vowed not to raise taxes on Pennsylvanians.
One of the key components of the state’s function, education, suffered cuts across the board. And herein lies the rub: If the state doesn’t provide the money, then who will? (The budget has a way to go, and the legislature could put back in more money for education. But, if it doesn’t, then what?)
So, when the local school districts raise property taxes to make up for at least some of the lessened state support, who will get the blame? The governor and legislators are going to hope you blame the school boards. However, I will put the blame squarely in Harrisburg.
This is potentially another promise broken.
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