The Almanac is again on target in its incisive and hard-hitting Aug. 9 editorial, “Hidden Taxes in State’s Budget Will Hurt Consumers.”
I have been pleased that Republicans in the state legislature have refused to increase broad-based taxes such as the levies on income and sales, but what the state Senate has chosen to do in finally coming up with a means to pay for state outlays is cowardly and even worse: hitting the middle class and lower income individuals with a tax on necessities: our electricity, gas, and telephone service.
I recognize that taxes are the price that one pays to live in a developed industrial society and I am not averse to paying a reasonable amount for vital services which government provides. There are, though, judicious and appropriate means to levy the tax burden, which the Senate did not consider.
Why did the legislation not raise revenue by enacting expansions of gambling, full privatization of the state store system, closing the “Delaware loophole” which provides a tax haven for Pennsylvania-based corporations, and a Marcellus Shale extraction tax that mirrors that which is imposed in other states rather than the watered-down version it passed? Before considering an increase in the tax on utilities, why not a sales tax boost on non-necessities, including services which are currently exempt?
Pennsylvanians should be saying to members of the state Senate, “Is this the best you can do?” Surely the House will not go along this scheme, will it?
Upper St. Clair
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