Pennsylvania Senators worked to cobble the three caucus agreement back together yesterday by passing a revised budget and sending it back to the House. The budget approved by the Senate yesterday raises taxes by $500 million, primarily through higher taxes on employers and smokers. 

The only signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to vote in favor of this massive, mid-recession tax increase was Senator Jane Orie (R-40). By signing the Pledge, Orie made a commitment to her constituents to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes.” Orie violated this commitment with her vote in favor of the budget yesterday. 

Sen. Orie is the 5th Pennsylvania legislator to break the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in the last week. Last Friday Reps. Casorio (D-56), George (D-74), Grucela (D-137), and Harhai (D-58) broke their Pledges by voting on a budget that would raise taxes on energy, tobacco products, and employers by nearly $1 billion dollars. The bill was approved largely along party lines with all Republicans voting in opposition. 

It’s never good to see lawmakers take more of Pennsylvania taxpayers’ hard earned income. It’s even worse when those tax hikers are breaking a central premise on which they were elected to office,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “It’s important for Pennsylvanians to know who went against their promise to voters by voting for the latest iterations of the state budget, all of which entailed tax increases.
Legislative leadership have expressed intentions to send a budget to Gov. Rendell by the end of the week. The latest budget passed out of the Senate yesterday and under consideration in the House today raises taxes by approximately $500 million on employers and those who can least afford it. As such, ATR urges all legislators to reject the latest budget agreement.