July 6, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf’s $1 billion gas severance tax for education is the greatest illusion ever created in Harrisburg. Look at the governor's budget page and you will not find $1 billion for education from his severance tax package. Look at Wolf’s 2015-16 proposed education budget and his $1 billion of new money is not there either.
You will find money being taken from the PHEAA college student aid program and given to basic education, and see that cyber charter schools are losing $160 million to basic and higher education. There is simply no $1 billion severance tax for education in either budget.
Taxpayers in 404 school districts will lose millions under Wolf’s proposed property tax shift plan and would pay more in personal income and sales taxes than they would receive in property tax relief.
The plan to slap a 6.6 percent sales tax on dozens of exempt items may be even more egregious. From college meal plans and textbooks to diapers, child care, nursing home care, funerals and legal services, the governor seems intent on alienating all of Pennsylvania’s residents who purchase goods and services.
This is a terrible time to propose a severance tax. DEP data show a 45 percent decline in new horizontal wells drilled in 2015 through June, when compared to the average over the past five years. A businessman would acknowledge this, but not a politician.