State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, of Swarthmore, described it as a political ploy.
““In a farcical ploy to claim that they have not raised taxes, the House GOP voted for a plan that raids restricted funds and literally makes up numbers,” she said. “In a move that doesn’t make a shred of financial sense, the approved bill auctions off future payments from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement – worth $2.9 billion – for the fire sale price of $1 billion, essentially giving away $1.9 billion in resources that provide health care for workers with disabilities, nursing home care and home health care services that keep our seniors safe.”
She said the vote included a $32 million cut to SEPTA, which will result in a 40 percent reduction in transit and Regional Rail service while fares increase by 20 percent.
Krueger-Braneky added, “Rather than finally bringing up a vote on a severance tax on Marcellus Shale, the House Republican leadership decided to cynically rebrand the existing impact fee as a severance tax, with no difference in policy or new revenue – a vote that passed along party lines.”
Krueger-Braneky said it wasn’t up to the Democrats to make the shale tax happen, particularly as process rules require three session days for a discharge to take effect.
“(House Speaker) Mike Turzai has never allowed a discharge petition to go,” she said.