Krueger-Braneky: Revenue package not completed in responsible fashion

HARRISBURG, July 13 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, issued the following statement today after voting against House Bill 1198, the revenue package to fund the general appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016-17:

“As someone who has worked with small business owners for over a decade prior to entering public office, I cannot in good conscience vote for tax increases that predominately affect those business owners and low-income families. Balancing the budget on the backs of small-business owners who are the backbone of our community and low-income families that struggle to make ends meet is the opposite of what we were sent here to do.

“This situation is only magnified by Pennsylvania’s continued lack of a severance tax. Instead of funding the much-needed increases in education spending with a Marcellus Shale severance tax, a last minute addition to the revenue package included a $7.5 million tax credit for waste coal and a $12 million handout to oil and gas companies. To continue to give handouts to an industry that does not pay their fair share does not benefit the people of Pennsylvania.

“Finally, this debate over revenue has gone on for several weeks with seemingly a few hundred million dollars being the final holdup. The answer is not, as this bill does, to borrow $200 million from next year’s budget at a time when Pennsylvania has a structural deficit over $1.2 billion. The timeliness of a revenue package is important, but it’s also important to get it done correctly and responsibly with revenue that is sustainable, predictable and grows with the economy.

“Pennsylvania residents deserve better than this revenue bill. They deserve an end to this yearly battle where the General Assembly simply moves money from one place to the next to balance the budget, only to create a bigger problem in the next budgeting year. I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan fashion to end Pennsylvania’s revenue problems with a real fix and not more gimmicks and tricks.”