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Republican lawmaker proposes income tax increase to solve Pennsylvania’s budget puzzle


As Pennsylvania’s budget “un-crisis” continues to slowly unfold in Harrisburg, a Bucks County lawmaker Thursday put his name behind a solution that, to date, there has been something of a gentleman’s agreement to avoid.

Rep. Eugene DiGirolamo called for an increase in the state’s personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.32 percent – an increase of about 8.1 percent – as the main plug in a $2.2 billion budget hole.

That hike would raise the tax bill of a Pennsylvanian making $50,000 an extra $125 per year, from $1,535 to $1,660.

DiGirolamo would marry that with a 3 percent tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production – on top of existing drill-site impact fees; authorization of a string of satellite casinos in second-tier markets around the state and several hundred million in fund transfers.

The combination, he said, would solve this year’s funding problem without borrowing, and set the state up for long-term stability because of the more than $1.5 billion in recurring revenues.

“I’m really worried about where we are in Pennsylvania, as far as our budget goes,” said DiGirolamo, a Republican from Bensalem. “… I think it’s time we have to make some tough decisions.”

The immediate problem, for DiGirolamo, is finding a political engine to propel his plan forward.

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