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Simmons Votes No on Revenue Package for 2016-17 Budget
7/13/2016
HARRISBURG – Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) today was a “no” vote on the revenue package necessary to complete the state budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.

The $31.6 billion spending plan includes $200 million more for basic education without the need for any new or increased broad-based income or sales taxes. The additional revenue required to balance the budget will be generated by a number of new, recurring sources, including proceeds from gaming expansions, tax increases on various tobacco products, a tax on digital downloads, profits from the new wine privatization plan and a tax amnesty program. Due to federal mandates and increased corrections and health care costs, the Commonwealth needed to raise more than $1.28 billion in new revenue.

Simmons issued the following statement regarding his vote:

“Just over a week ago, I voted for a responsible budget that met the state’s financial obligations in regard to issues such as pensions, Medicaid and more. This budget also focused additional resources on the top priorities of our community, including education and public safety. I did this based on two beliefs. First, the state is duty-bound to meet its financial obligations to avoid more serious financial issues in the future. Second, the revenue package discussed at the time was something that I could support, as it was based on ideas that were fair to the people and small businesses of Pennsylvania.

“Today, I voted against the revenue package because what was presented to the House was different than what was discussed at the time of the budget vote.  

“The package presented today makes significant changes to how Pennsylvania has always treated the business community in its role as our partners in tax collection by eliminating the vendor discount on collected sales tax. It unfairly targets smaller community banks – a group that is key to the continued growth of entrepreneurship in our state and new jobs in our communities. The package also relies on unwise borrowing to fund spending, and I believe that is not a responsible path. These are just some examples of items that changed from the original revenue proposal, and that forced me to vote no.

“I remain committed to ensuring the fiscal strength of our state, and still believe the best way to achieve this is through new cost controls like significant public pension reform, as well as new revenue streams, such as full liquor privatization, that do not rely on taxpayers alone.”

Representative Justin Simmons
131st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Andy Briggs
abriggs@pahousegop.com
RepSimmons.com / Facebook.com/RepSimmons
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