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PA Republicans View of Fiscal Cliff Differs from Democrats

Earlier this week several Democratic lawmakers from across the state called for a fiscal cliff deal that increases revenue to cities, but G-O-P county commissioners aren’t singing the same tune.

Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin said of more concern for him is that a fiscal cliff deal won’t cut spending enough.

“We have the ability locally to provide services and tax for those services,” he said. “If we can’t afford it, maybe we shouldn’t be doing it.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor said he is not convinced the president’s proposal to raise tax rates on the top two percent of wage earners is wise. 

“I think that raising taxes on anyone now is a bad idea,” he said. “I think tightening up deductions, tightening up tax loopholes, and trying to increase revenue that way is a better approach.”

But the mayors of Allentown, Philadelphia, Reading, and York agree with the president's position that raising revenue is crucial to a deal. 

Castor also said counties don’t receive money directly from the federal government, so it’s hard to know how cuts would affect each county, because any federal dollars are first passed through state agencies.

“As a general rule, when there are cuts on pass-through programs, we simply cut those services because the counties are not equipped to pay for them using our property tax formula, “ he said.

They said if no deal is reached, the scheduled automatic spending cuts, especially to education, would be almost impossible to absorb.