House passes a billion dollar tax increase that would destroy jobs and raid the pocketbooks of working families.

WASHINGTON – In the dead of night, the Pennsylvania House just passed a billion dollar tax increase by a vote of 104-95. The tax bill would raise income taxes by 11%, from 2.8% to 3.1%, retroactively raise the capital stock and franchise taxes, and tax cellular phone service, among other things.

These tax increases would have a devastating effect on the Pennsylvania economy, according to a study commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation. The Foundation turned to the sophisticated STAMP model developed by scholars at the Beacon Hill Institute of Suffolk University. The STAMP model projects that the tax increase will cost Pennsylvania 35,892 jobs and $77.4 million in investment.

"Tax increases are always destructive, and the Commonwealth Foundation has now quantified the destruction," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Especially with our current slow economic times and tight job market, it is unconscionable that the House would vote to raid taxpayers\’ wallets and to throw more Pennsylvanians out of work. They will have to explain to 36,000 unemployed why spending was more important than their jobs."

Since Senate leaders Robert Jubelirer, David Brightbill, and Jeffrey Piccola are on record opposing this tax package, the people of Pennsylvania may be spared. But politicians have been known to change their mainds before. That is why Americans for Tax Reform is asking every Senator to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Pledge, singed by President Bush, 42 U.S. Senators, 217 Congressmen, eight governors, and over 1200 state legislators, commits an official to "oppose and vote against/veto any and all efforts to increase taxes."

"The issue in Pennsylvania is now framed perfectly," Norquist continued. "Gov. Rendell and the big spenders in the House are willing to destroy jobs and forego investment in order to fund new spending. The Senate leadership is making the right sounds now. But there is only one way to be sure where a Senator stands, today and in the future. He must sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. If he is committed to protecting the jobs and incomes of his hard-working families, there is no reason not to sign it. If he refuses to do so, he must have a tax increase in mind in the future."