The Pa. Senate budget plan: Pinches & a lot more pain |

The Pa. Senate budget plan: Pinches & a lot more pain

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre (AP Photo)
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The Pennsylvania State Capitol

When we told Pennsylvanians to hold their applause after the Legislature submitted only half a budget — the spending half — by the state’s June 30 deadline, we should have also advised all to hold on to their wallets, too.

Sure enough, a spending plan approved 26-24 by the Senate on Thursday offers a smorgasbord of tax hikes totaling at least $551 million. Contained therein is something for everyone to dislike, from higher consumption taxes on natural gas and electricity to levies on certain online purchases from Amazon, eBay and other vendors.

And, yes, the upper-chamber invertebrates gave in on Gov. Wolf’s grail: a severance tax on Marcellus shale gas.

Even with all this extra money grubbing, another bill will allow the commonwealth’s compulsive spenders to borrow $1.3 billion from the state’s annual share of tobacco-settlement money.

And for this we get mea culpas from senators after Pennsylvanians have been tax-jacked four times in the last eight years? The legislation now goes to the House.

Rather than sell off the state’s liquor monopoly and cut the estimated $800 million in corporate welfare, along with horse-racing subsidies and film tax credits, the Senate instead went pocket diving. But if last year’s $650 million in tax increases didn’t balance the books, what makes anyone think this year’s effort will fare any better?

Here’s hoping for more order, and restraint, from the House.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.