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October 07, 2015

Pa. House rejects Wolf's budget plan

Proposal would have increased income tax, brought tax on natural gas

Politics Budget
Budget Matt Rourke/AP

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives rejected Governor Tom Wolf's tax plan, which sought to finally put in place a still absent budget, in a vote Wednesday, 127-73.

According to Penn Live, the vote broke almost completely along party lines, with all 118 Republicans voting against it and only nine Democrats joining them.

The proposal would have raised the state income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.57 percent and would have added a new severance tax on the natural gas industry.

Democrats who stuck with Wolf argued that the increase to a broad-base tax was necessary to boost revenue and keep up with expenses, while Republicans argued the hike would burden working-class Pennsylvanians. 

Wolf argued the tax increase would fund education and ease property taxes for seniors and disabled households.

The rejection by mostly Republican lawmakers follows a battle that has lasted since the summer over the state budget.

In a compromising effort, Wolf dropped a sales tax increase to the proposal, according to WNEP. 

The governor previously vetoed Republican proposals to create revenue, such as selling the state liquor stores and pension reform.

GOP lawmakers hope the defeat will force Wolf to forget about adding new taxes to the budget.

Pennsylvania has been without a state budget since June 30.