Tax Credits

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center released the following statement from Director Marc Stier on the study, “Pennsylvania: A 21st Century Tax Code for the Commonwealth,” released today by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

Despite Pennsylvania’s structural deficit and Governor Wolf’s proposal to cut tax credits by $100 million in 2017-18, lawmakers are currently considering expanding by 44%, or $55 million, two programs that already provide $125 million in taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend religious or other private schools. As well as diverting additional revenues from the General Fund without a revenue source in sight, this expansion is problematic because of a complete lack of financial and educational accountability within the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program and the part of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program that funds taxpayer-funded vouchers. Two of many issues with these voucher programs, revealed in this report, are the extent to which curricula at schools attended by taxpayer-subsidized scholarships teach creationism and present the bible as literal truth in history and other subjects; and the extent to which tax-credit dollars, while marketed as serving low-income students in low-performing school districts, subsidize exclusive private schools catering mostly to the very affluent.

It appears that legislators have decided to raise new, and necessary, revenue by expanding the sales tax base to include more goods and services instead of increasing the sales tax rate. There are good reasons to broaden the base of the sales tax, if it is done in ways that make the tax more equitable. But a broader sales tax is still likely to fall more heavily on low-income families. Legislators can limit the burden on those least able to bear it by coupling the sales tax expansion with a new refundable sales tax credit.

Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders are currently negotiating over the terms of a plan to cut property taxes which would be financed by an increase in the state sales tax rate from 6% to 7.25%. This brief analyzes the size of the sales tax rate increase by income. It also compares that impact to how much different income groups would pay with an increase in the state personal income tax rate from 3.07% to 3.57%, as proposed by Gov. Wolf in October and rejected by the Republican legislative majority and nine Western Pennsylvania Democrats.

Gov. Tom Wolf presented his 2015-16 State Budget Proposal on March 3.  The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will be posting analysis, infographics and related documents on this page as they become available. Check back often for the latest updates.

May 10, 2013

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, PBPC and Public Citizens for Children and Youth are highlighting new research showing that 670,000 working moms in Pennsylvania benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

May 10, 2013

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, new research shows that 670,000 working moms in Pennsylvania rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The last thing Congress should do is weaken the improvements made to both tax credits in 2009.

April 17, 2013

These bills ask senior citizens in York and working families in Pottstown to subsidize Chevron, Hess and Royal Dutch Shell.

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