Health - March 20, 2015

Chairman Adolf Unveils New Website to Illustrate Wolf Tax Proposals

Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee unveiled a new website this week that provides an empirical analysis of Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal.  Under Wolf’s budget proposal, the state income tax rate would increase from 3.07 percent to 3.7 percent and the state sales tax would increase from 6 percent to 6.6 percent.  According to Wolf, many Pennsylvanians would see a decrease in property taxes, as a result.  To illustrate this proposal, the interactive website “” allows Pennsylvanians to view—by school district or by county—the net impact of Wolf budget proposal.  It also provides a brief explanation of Wolf’s budget proposal, which the House Republican Caucus claims will increase state spending by 16 percent from the previous fiscal year.  In response to the website’s creation, the Wolf Administration has denounced its numerical accuracy.

State worker pensions to play major role in budget negotiations

In an announcement earlier this week, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) stated that the Senate version of the pension reform bill will be unveiled next month.  This disclosure comes after Representative Warren Kampf (R-Chester) filed House Bill 727, which creates a defined contribution plan for future state and public education employees.  The state and public education employees retirement systems have a $53 billion unfunded liability that contributed to Pennsylvania’s credit downgrade and current budgetary gap.  Prior to increasing taxes and finding additional revenue sources to balance the upcoming budget, Browne insists that Pennsylvania must find a solution to the problems plaguing the state pension systems.  Besides created defined contributions for future state and public education employees, Browne floated the possibility of making the management of the pension funds more efficient, thereby lowering management costs.  Ultimately, the issue of reforming state pensions and their unfunded liability will remain a common theme in order to ameliorate the $2.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year.