Critics on Wolf's Budget Address

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Matthew Brouillette: “Wolf aims to increase utility bills”

Wolf aims to increase utility bills
Matthew Brouillette
York Dispatch
June 8, 2018

Come July 1, residents and businesses across the state are set to experience this price-cut victory when they see their water, electric, and natural gas bills shrink due to recently enacted federal tax cuts. The savings will amount to $210 million on electricity, $48 million on water and wastewater, and $66 million on natural gas, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Those are price cuts worth celebrating!

But the celebration may be short lived. Because while utility companies are cutting natural gas rates, Gov. Tom Wolf is trying to raise them.

Wolf, who has been peddling his utility tax for four straight years, likes to repeat that out-of-staters, not Pennsylvanians, would bear the brunt of his tax. But his claim is misleading. It suggests a minimal cost to commonwealth residents — indeed, it seems Wolf wants homeowners to believe they will not be affected. This is far from the truth.

Given the massive amount of natural gas underneath our state, it’s only logical that we would export the bulk of it. But that obscures the fact that more than half of Pennsylvania homeowners rely on natural gas, and Wolf’s tax would slap these homeowners with higher heating bills.

Sadly, Wolf’s proposal is hardly surprising. Since taking office, he has demanded tax increases that would hit Pennsylvania families where it hurts most. Who can forget Wolf’s first budget proposal, where he pitched the largest tax increase in Pennsylvania’s history, which would have raised taxes on items including diapers, day care, college textbooks, nursing home care, and even funeral services.

Wolf’s persistence in demanding a new severance tax year after year demonstrates how out of touch he is with hardworking Pennsylvanians, with business owners and job creators, and with the economic impact of tax hikes.

This disconnect will become even more apparent in the upcoming days, as Wolf squares off against Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner.

Unlike Wolf, Wagner has firsthand experience building a business from the ground-up, signing paychecks, and navigating operating costs. He understands that if you put a crippling tax on the gas industry, it’s just going to be passed on to the consumers who already feel like they pay enough to heat their homes.

Pennsylvanians should be able to celebrate lower utility bills thanks to federal tax cuts — not fear their governor will reverse these cuts and jack their utility costs.

So as Wolf continues to peddle his utility bill increase, remember, a governor truly in touch with the people he serves would be doing everything possible to make it easier for families to make ends meet, not pushing incessantly to take even more from their budgets.

Read the full piece HERE. ​

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