— Rep. Warren Kampf (Chester/Montgomery) was in attendance today for Gov. Tom Wolf’s visit to the Phoenixville Middle School where the governor was attempting to rally support for his massive tax increase.
“I came here today to hear what the governor had to say, and in the hope that he would put aside the partisan campaign rhetoric he has relied on during this budget impasse that his historic veto caused. Sadly, that did not happen,” Kampf said. “I’m disappointed that the governor used Phoenixville Middle School as a backdrop while he spoke in platitudes about education, without explaining what the actual costs of his massive proposed tax hikes would be on the people of Phoenixville and the 157th District. Purposely ignoring these facts is just disingenuous, and is offensive to the people of this community.”
“The people I represent have made it clear they can’t afford the income and sales tax increases the governor is insisting upon, particularly since the people of the 157th District will receive little to none of it back in any form,” Kampf said.
If the governor’s tax plan were adopted, its combination of a sales tax expansion, a sales tax increase and increase in the Personal Income Tax would cost taxpayers in the school districts of Phoenixville, Tredyffrin-Easttown and Spring Ford -- $59 million more in increased taxes than they would receive in temporary property tax relief.
Under the governor’s proposal, the people of Phoenixville School District that Wolf visited would see their net taxes increase by almost $13 million in the first year. The Phoenixville School District would not receive additional funding to offset these new taxes, meaning local taxpayers would be on the hook for higher personal taxes as well as the need to continue funding their schools through the property tax.
“I was elected to be fiscally responsible with people’s tax dollars by reforming the public pension system and getting the state out of the liquor business. I’ve done those things and the governor vetoed them; if he wants to compromise, controlling costs must be the first step, not raising taxes on the middle-class families I represent,” Kampf stated.
“The governor wants to increase the burden on the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District taxpayers by $30 million per year and yet only $200,000 of that will come back to us. That is obviously unfair. He has also vetoed the pension reform bill laid on his desk, and that is one of the biggest drivers of our school budget increases, and something that must change. The governor does not appear to have the best interests of our local schools in mind,” Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board Director Jim Bruce said.
“The governor appears to be placing a massive tax increase on Phoenixville residents while we don’t see much returned to us in terms of funding increases. The school board and administration have done a good job at controlling costs and providing a tremendous product for the families and students. Simply put, sometimes more money is not always the answer on how to solve problems. Especially in this case where the cost of that additional money is a huge burden to the taxpayers,” said David Ziev, a longtime school board member from Phoenixville.
“I am very upset at the net increase in taxes to the people of Spring Ford School District which will not offset by so-called property tax relief. It is also disturbing that the governor vetoed meaningful pension reform. Pensions are a big problem for schools now and they will be for a long time if we do not get them under control,” said Bernard Pettit, school board director from Spring Ford School District.
Instead of focusing on the impact of his tax increase to Phoenixville and surrounding communities, the governor continued the myth that taxing the Marcellus Shale industry was holding up a budget deal (see pie chart next page). The governor also continues to hide the fact that the severance tax he proposes is just a very small percentage of his overall tax increase plan; in fact, if enacted as the governor has proposed, individual taxpayers will pay billions more in higher taxes than the gas exploration companies.
Perhaps most distressing is that the governor continues to claim his proposed severance tax on shale will go to education; in reality, his severance tax is dedicated to many government programs, and does not add up to what the current Impact Fee provides for the state.
“I have made it clear that I will support a fair severance tax, but the governor’s full proposal is actually billions of dollars more in taxes on working families, seniors, and the middle class,” Kampf said. “Most importantly, any revenue garnered from a new severance tax must go toward education – either by defraying the rising costs of pensions or directly to the classroom. The governor’s plan does not.”
Representative Warren Kampf
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster