The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a state budget revenue plan late Friday night and sent that bill to the Republican-controlled Senate for concurrence. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Monday.
While this budget is far from perfect, it is the best we can hope for this year. It creates a more stable funding plan for most essential services for our state’s families, seniors and children. It includes a $300 million increase for basic education funding that will provide some relief for local school districts.
Tell the Senate to pass the budget on Monday.
The revenue plan also includes the following changes that shift the burden away from non-profit and community organizations, and on to polluters and tobacco products:
- Eliminates the proposed tax on the arts and museums.
- Eliminates the proposed tax on small games of chance run by non-profit groups like the American Legion, churches and other community groups.
- Imposes a severance tax on natural gas drilling. This will bring in over $100 million a year from this highly risky, polluting industry. The money will go to the general fund as well as to the counties and municipalities where the drilling occurs, and to low income heating and energy assistance, and to the Environmental Stewardship and the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.
- Imposes a tax on cigars and smokeless tobacco that will bring in over $50 million a year. PA is the only state that taxes cigarettes that doesn’t tax these products.