Burns says ‘no’ vote on state budget based on revenue concerns

Senate inaction proves no agreement on how to raise $1 billion

HARRISBURG, July 1 – State Rep. Frank Burns, one of nine House Democrats to oppose a 2016-17 state budget bill Thursday night, said its unraveling in the Senate today over how to raise more than $1 billion validates his position.

Burns, D-Cambria, said he had grave concerns that the budget was heavily laden with back-door taxes on working families, levies that would take more money from those who heat with natural gas and who use smokeless tobacco.

“It’s ludicrous that we would ask those folks to dig deeper into their wallets, while refusing to close the Delaware loophole that gives big corporations a huge tax break,” Burns said. “It also makes no sense to me to tax people who heat with natural gas, while Pennsylvania remains the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax. Talk about backward priorities.”

Burns said he had deep reservations that the budget agreement was not based on any firm revenue footing and thus was susceptible to falling apart.

“My suspicions appear to have been justified,” Burns said. “I sincerely hope that we can build something more solid in the days to come.”