Philly lawmakers push for commonsense Pa. budget fixes

Responsible, recurring revenues inlcude gas extraction tax, closing loopholes, raising minimum wage

HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 – Members of the Philadelphia Delegation in the state House of Representatives continue to push for commonsense ways to balance Pennsylvania's overdue budget.


"The main spending bill was passed on June 30, on a bipartisan basis, and it became law on July 10. Democrats have offered commonsense, popular ways to pay for that budget. Unfortunately, House Republican leaders have kept the people's representatives from voting on these commonsense proposals," said delegation chair Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware.


Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., vice chair of the delegation, said, "On Wednesday nearly all House Republicans voted to block consideration of a natural gas extraction tax, also known as a severance tax, even though every other major natural-gas state already has one. About 75 percent of the proposed tax would be paid by out-of-state customers, just as Pennsylvanians already pay it to other states on natural gas that's sent here."


Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., said, "There are commonsense solutions out there already – the natural-gas extraction tax, closing corporate tax loopholes and raising the minimum wage. Higher pay earned by workers would mean more revenues for the state -- without the need for a tax increase. And it would mean less money spent in the state and communities for assistance programs. That's a win-win!"


Rep. Mike O'Brien, D-Phila., said, "To pay for the education funding increases in the new budget, and to avoid painful cuts, we need recurring, sustainable revenue, and a move away from the one-time gimmicks the Republicans have forced the state to use in recent years.


"We also need sustainable revenue so we can provide state funding for Pennsylvania's four state-related universities – Temple, Lincoln, Penn State and Pitt – their state funding hasn't been passed yet,” he said.