Monday, August 23, 2010

Rendell Proposes $1 Billion More For Transportation

At a press conference this morning, Gov. Rendell unveiled what he said would be a $1 billion increase in annual transportation-- highway and transit-- funding. His plan (no surprises here) includes--
-- $576 million from a new net profit tax on oil companies which he said now only paid $35 million in state Corporate Net Income Tax, while making $5 billion in profits in Pennsylvania; and
-- $434 million by raising driver and vehicle fees consistent with the increase in inflation (for the average driver the increase would cost 33 cents per week).
He again cited the poll numbers he released last week saying 74 percent of the public supported the oil company tax and a narrow majority supporting the increase in driver and vehicle fees.
The Governor was flanked by Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Minority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Barry Stout (D-Washington), Minority Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), Majority Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Notably, no other members of House Democratic Leadership nor Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny), Majority Chair of the House Transportation Committee, appeared at the press conference.
In answer to a question about how many House Democrats will vote for tax increases, Rep. Evans said he didn't know, but "it will pass." Later he went further saying he didn't know if the vote would happen before the election. (The Senate has already said they will not be in session after the election.)
Sen. Costa also expressed optimism a package will pass because there is concern across all the General Assembly about transportation funding.
Gov. Rendell used Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett's "no tax increase" pledge to say the funding has to be raised now or funding would not be increased for five years.
Rendell Proposes Driver Fee Increase, Oil Company Tax

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