DiSanto Opposes Tax and Borrow Plan

Harrisburg – State Senator John DiSanto (R-15) issued the following statement supporting his “no” vote on House Bill 542, the Tax Code, that was passed by the Senate today and now goes to the House for further consideration.

“Just as I had predicted a month ago when I opposed the passage of a state spending plan without having a revenue plan to pay for it, the proposal that has been put forward to fund this unsustainable level of spending is to borrow against the future and increase taxes on already overtaxed working Pennsylvanians.

“This Tax Code, as approved by the Senate, would add hundreds of millions of dollars to Pennsylvanians’ utility bills. Everyone who heats their home with natural gas, uses electricity or has a phone will be paying more. In addition to these direct tax increases, consumers will undoubtedly be hit with higher costs from new business taxes.

“Beyond the current year tax increases, this revenue plan relies on $1.3 billion in borrowing against future tobacco settlement payments. This short-sighted, quick fix amounts to a guaranteed tax increase in one or two years to replace those revenues and repay the loan.

“We should not ask more from already overburdened taxpayers and indebt future generations because the governor and legislators can’t control their spending problem.

“While I was on the losing side, along with my fellow citizens, of the vote today, I will continue to press my colleagues for the reforms we need in order to put Pennsylvania on a firmer financial footing and position us for long-term economic growth.

“I am asking our Senate leadership to, in future years, consider a spending plan only in conjunction with a revenue proposal. Legislators should decide how much they are willing to tax their constituents before they pass a spending plan which they can use to justify higher taxes. This ‘ass-backwards’ approach to budgeting has repeatedly led to excessive spending and a higher tax burden on Pennsylvanians.

“I am also seeking to make it more difficult for the legislature to raise taxes. I recently introduced Senate Bill 489, the Tax Limitation Amendment, which would begin the process of amending the state constitution to require a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly to increase taxes. Had this been the law today, the Tax Code vote would have failed and the legislature would be forced to revisit the tax increase proposals.

“It’s well past the time to consider spending restraint that drives cost-saving efficiencies and prioritizes funding to core functions of government. Our state cannot continue asking taxpayers to give more when we haven’t made every effort to extract savings.”

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman cerdman@pasen.gov (717) 787-6801