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Politics & Government

Left-Leaning Groups Offer Tax Policy Suggestions

Courtesy Photo/ Better Choices for Pennsylvania

The Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition released a set of 19 tax recommendations Wednesday aimed at making the state’s tax system “fairer,” according to Mike Wood, Research Director of the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a member organization of the coalition.

The recommendations include several suggestions that would generate more revenue for Pennsylvania, according to Wood, such as closing corporate “tax loopholes,” reworking the 2013 bank tax reform, and adopting a Marcellus Shale severance tax.

However, some of the 19 suggestions focus on saving money for lower income Pennsylvanians, including expanding a program that gives assistance to seniors paying property taxes.

“‘Fair’ is a term that has a lot of different meanings for different people,” Wood said. “For us, what we look at it is ‘How much do families of different income levels pay in state and local taxes and what kinds of things can we do to help make them more even?’”

The Better Choices Coalition is comprised of 36 organizations, including advocacy groups, policy centers, the Central Pennsylvanian Food Bank, and the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, that are focused on state tax reform.

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Pennsylvania is one of the “Terrible Ten” states when it come to an equitable tax structure, meaning that lower income residents pay a larger percentage of their income in state and local taxes than wealthy residents. ITEP estimates Pennsylvania families making less than $65,000 per year pay at least 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while those making more than $400,000 per year pay approximately 4.2 percent. This does not include federal taxes.

Credit Courtesy Photo/ Better Choices for Pennsylvania
The Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition presented a list of 19 recommended changes to Pennsylvania taxes in the state capitol building.