“Tom Wolf is now trying to extend his policy of hiding the details of his proposed income tax hikes from the campaign trail into a possible budget. For months, Tom Wolf tried to sell Pennsylvanians on the idea of raising their income taxes without providing any details. Now, the former PA Revenue Secretary is saying he might not have any details on his own plan to raise the income tax by a potential first budget.
“Tom Wolf does realize that he has to come clean about the details of his income tax hikes at some point, right? Does Ed Rendell’s Chief Tax Collector realize that a budget actually needs specific details? Does Tom Wolf expect voters to just wait patiently until he graces us with details of his proposed plans to take more money out of the pockets of hardworking Pennsylvania families?
“It’s time for Tom Wolf’s duck-and-cover approach to policy to finally end so that voters can learn the truth about his plans to raise our taxes.” — PA GOP Communications Director Megan Sweeney
Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania governor, said today he hopes, but can’t be sure, that he will be able to offer a detailed proposal to revise the state’s personal income tax system in his first budget if he is elected next month.
Mr. Wolf spoke about his education and tax proposals during a news conference outside Aliquippa High School.
Mr. Wolf has proposed a major restructuring of the state’s income tax to provide a significantly larger personal exemption, coupled with a higher tax rate for income above that level, in an effort to make the system fairer and more progressive.
He has said repeatedly, however, that he can’t provide more specifics on the overhaul until he gets into office and has access to fuller details on the distribution of income and other fiscal data. But he has also said that individuals making between $70,000 and $90,000 would pay more under his revised system; those making less would pay less, and that only more affluent would pay more.
If he were to defeat Gov. Tom Corbett on Nov. 4, however, he would have only a few months before he would be obliged to present a budget proposal to the Legislature.
Asked if that would give him time to get up to speed on the revenue data he would need to flesh out his proposal, he said, “I haven’t decided. I don’t know how long it will take to get that data together. … I don’t know how long that will take.”
Mr. Wolf said that, in addition to the need to get access to current state data on taxes, his goal of formulating a proposal to submit to the Legislature is clouded by the fact that he does not know how large of an inherited deficit he might confront.
“I am looking at a tax system that is fairer. … I’m also trying to be honest here, And there are two things I don’t know,” he said.
“I don’t know what everybody pays in taxes and I shouldn’t. I’m an outsider, I’m not part of the government. … I shouldn’t have access to that as a candidate.
“Once I’m in office, it becomes appropriate for me to get that information,” he said.
“It would be a lie for me to come up with a number, since I don’t have that information,” he added, while assailing his opponent’s financial stewardship.
“I don’t know how deep the hole this administration has dug,” he continued. “I don’t know what we’re looking at here. And until I know that, I can’t honestly tell you the specifies of what the number will be on the rate, and what the number will be on the personal exemption.”
Nonetheless, he said, “My hope would be that I could go to the Legislature with a full program.”
“I hope that the winter is not too cold, too,” he added.
To read the entire article by James O’Toole, please click here.