State tax burden explains why more of same is opposed

State Reps. Garth Everett and Jeff Wheeland, who represent much of our region, are part of the Republican majority of the state House that has stonewalled Gov. Wolf’s plan for higher taxes and a larger state budget.

They insist in interviews that they have yet to have a constituent over all these months push them to change their stance.

If you think that’s just self-serving rhetoric, consider Pennsylvania’s tax burden place in the nation.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania’s state-local tax burden is the 15th highest among the 50 states.

The state-local tax burden for Pennsylvanians equals on average 10.20 percent of their income.

The amount of taxes paid to Pennsylvania per capita averages $3,385 annually.

For most Pennsylvanians, the total local-state tax burden is by far the largest single bill they pay on an annual basis.

So when Gov. Wolf proposed that these same Pennsylvanians pay more in state sales and income taxes, opposition is pretty predictable.

It doesn’t help that the state budget has grown by about 35 percent in the past 15 years, so the perception is that state government has enough money to handle the services it is bound to provide. There simply needs to be a better focus on how to correctly spend that money.

In other words, if state government would handle its operations like the families and private businesses it is taxing so heavily, much of this tax burden would not be necessary.

Tax burden is not a category in which Pennsylvania can be proud to be in the top 15 among 50 states.