PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Last month, Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett leveled this charge against his Democratic challenger Tom Wolf.
“He (Wolf) continues to say, we need to spend more money, which means we need to raise more money, which means we need to tax more people, and that’s exactly what he intends to do,” Corbett told a rally of supporters on May 21.
In a sit-down interview with KDKA political editor Jon Delano, Wolf rebuffed Republican claims that he is a tax-and-spend Democrat.
Wolf: “To label me that way, I understand why he would want to do that. That’s politics, but the truth is very different.”
Delano: “But you do support some tax increases.”
Wolf: “Oh, absolutely. I’ve been very consistent. I think what you’re talking about is a 5 percent severance tax.”
That’s the tax on natural gas drilling that Wolf supports and Corbett opposes.
But Wolf also says he’s open to other tax hikes in order to cut property taxes.
“I have talked about the need to reduce local property taxes. And I’d like to get the state share for funding public education from its average right now of 32 percent to 50 percent. That inherently calls for the increase in some state tax to offset the decrease in property tax,” said the Democrat.
Wolf says an increase in the state’s income tax should be revenue neutral, and he would exempt, say, the first $30,000 of income from taxes for everyone.
As for the increased gasoline tax approved by Corbett to fund transportation projects, Wolf demurs.
“It is something we really need to look at. That has gone up dramatically, at least in my area. Gasoline prices have risen because of that tax. We need to find a better, fairer way to distribute the cost of making sure our transportation system is intact.”
All of which guarantees that taxes will be a top issue in this campaign.