Burns a hearty ‘no’ vote on GOP revenue bill that would borrow $1.5 billion, increase taxes

Legislator refuses to saddle future generations with current debt

EBENSBURG, Oct. 18 – Largely because of its heavy reliance on borrowing $1.5 billion against future tobacco settlement funds, state Rep. Frank Burns was a resounding “no” vote on Tuesday night’s revenue bill, which passed the House 102-88.

Burns, D-Cambria, was one of 42 Democrats to vote against H.B. 542, citing his belief that large-scale borrowing, which has to be paid back with interest, doesn’t equate to sound fiscal management.

“I don’t even own a credit card because I know the dangers in borrowing money to pay debt,” Burns said. “I’m in Harrisburg to represent the 72nd Legislative District, and my constituents don’t want the state borrowing money that they, their children and their grandchildren will have to repay.”

Further, Burns said the revenue bill – technically known as a tax code bill – also contains $85 million in tax hikes in obscure areas, such as fireworks sales and changes to the withholding of rent, royalty and other income paid to non-residents of Pennsylvania.

“Even though Republicans handily control the legislature, with 121 votes in the House and 34 in the Senate, due to their own internal disagreements they have for months failed to deliver a plan to fund the budget they moved through the process back in June,” Burns said. “The Senate still needs to agree to what the House approved last night, which means it’s still not a done deal.”