Today, Americans for Tax Reform launched a campaign to defeat the pending budget “compromise” being negotiated between Governor Tom Wolf (D-Penn.) and the Republican-run state legislature. The first set of over 75,000 phone calls began going out this morning, asking constituents to contact their state legislators to tell them to stand strong against Gov. Wolf’s efforts to raise taxes.
In the fifth month of the budget impasse, a plan that includes a massive 21 percent sales tax hike is currently under consideration. This constitutes a $2 billion sales tax hike. Though it is offset with some property tax relief, the plan still remains a net tax hike and is likely to include new and higher taxes elsewhere.
“Gov. Tom Wolf’s desire to spend and tax more without reforming government by doing common sense things like getting the government out of the booze business isn’t a mainstream position. Given how long this budget impasse has gone on, it’s time legislators start hearing more from their constituents,” said ATR President Grover Norquist. “Tax reform shouldn’t be used as a trojan horse for tax increases, as can be the case when one tax is lowered and others are raised and new ones are created. Republicans should stand strong against Tom Wolf’s plan to raise the sales tax and they should continue to demand that Pennsylvania get out of the liquor business altogether.”
The first set of Republican lawmakers’ constituents who will receive phone calls urging them to oppose Wolf’s tax hikes are as follows:
- House Speaker Mike Turzai (HD-28)
- Senator Dominic Pillegi (SD-9)
- Senator Robert Tomlison (SD-6)
- Senator Stewart Greenleaf (SD-12)
- Senator Chuck McIlhinney (SD-10)
Suburban moderates in the Senate are the top target of this campaign.
A 30-second recorded call will be delivered to households with residents identified as likely Republican voters in each of these districts. Call recipients are asked to “Press 1” at the conclusion of the message to be directed to their representative’s capitol offices in Harrisburg.
Messages vary by district, with some legislators being urged to reject the massive sales tax hike and others being asked to reject efforts to create a new and higher tax on electronic cigarettes, a tobacco-free alternative to combustible cigarettes.
“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are 9 million adults who use electronic cigarettes in the United States. These are former smokers who are living healthier tobacco-free lives while the small businesses and shops who help them in this effort contribute to state property, sales, and income taxes. To kill these businesses with a new tax on vapor products would fly in the face of efforts to reduce smoking rates in Pennsylvania,” continued Norquist.