HARRISBURG, July 13 – State Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D- Beaver/Butler/Lawrence, said he voted against more than a half-dozen new and increased taxes proposed to fund the 2016-17 state budget.
Gibbons previously voted against the unbalanced budget plan that increased total state spending by $1.6 billion, or 5.3 percent, and boosted the legislature’s funding by $18.6 million while failing to invest in economic development or adequately fund public education.
“We need to get spending under control and deal with the cost drivers that are increasing our state budget before we continue to ask residents and businesses to pay more taxes,” Gibbons said.
The new taxes include an income tax on lottery prizes, a variety of new and increased taxes on tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, and a sales tax on the download of digital content, such as ebooks, music, games, apps, satellite radio and other streaming video and audio content.
Additionally, businesses will be hurt by a cut in the sales tax vendor discount, which helps small businesses cover the cost of collecting sales taxes on behalf of the state.
“This is a $650 million tax increase that businesses and working Pennsylvanians cannot afford. Instead of burdening taxpayers we should be looking at the fraud and waste that continues to plague state government,” Gibbons said.
In addition, Gibbons said even though another devastating impasse was prevented “this is a smoke and mirrors state budget that again fails to produce property tax relief to homeowners.”
Gibbons said, “These tax increases continue to place greater burden on working families and small businesses, while failing to provide the property tax relief homeowners desperately needed.”
Gibbons stressed the need for lawmakers to find ways to control spending increases at the state, local and school district levels.
“You’ve got two real big issues, property taxes and job creation that are affecting people in my district and across the state and we can’t even produce a balanced state budget that doesn’t gouge taxpayers,” Gibbons said.