WASHINGTON – In the dead of night, the Pennsylvania House supported Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and passed a billion dollar tax increase by a vote of 104-95. The 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. According to the Commonwealth Foundation, the result will be 35,892 jobs and $77.4 million in investment lost to Pennsylvania. Incredibly, six representatives who signed a solemn pledge to their constituents not to raise taxes actually supported the tax hike.
"Rendell and the big spenders in the House have proven their willingness to destroy jobs and investment in order to fund new spending. And among them, Lawrence Roberts [D-51], James E. Shaner [D-52], Jim Lynch [R-65], Camille George [D-74], Matthew Wright [R-142], and Stephen Barrar [R-160] broke their solemn pledge to Pennsylvanians," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist.
"When these representatives violated the Taxpayer Protection Pledge they turned their backs on their constituents. There is no reason for voters to ever believe another word they say," he said. 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."
Now the fight moves to the Senate, where Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) hopes to stop the huge tax hike in its tracks. "The Senate leadership is making the right sounds now. But there is only one way to be sure of where a senator stands–today and in the future. We\’re calling on senators to sign the Pledge now. Any who refuses to do so must have a tax increase in mind for the future," said Norquist.