PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you’ve ever won any money in the Pennsylvania Lottery, you already know that those winnings are not subject to Pennsylvania’s 3.07 percent income tax.
But Gov. Tom Wolf wants to change that.
“Today there are only two or three states that don’t tax lottery winnings,” Wolf said in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. “We’re one of them, so we need to catch up.”
Wolf wants all winnings over $600 to be taxed at the state’s income tax rate.
California is the only other state with an income tax that — like Pennsylvania — exempts Lottery winnings.
So is it time to tax the lottery?
“I think it’s horrible,” said Donna Query of Mt. Washington. “I mean they’re getting enough of our money now, so why give them more. And what are they doing with all this money?”
Wolf says the tax money would go into the General Revenue Fund and could be around $15 million next year.
When you win the Pennsylvania Lottery it is not taxed at the state level; although, it is taxed at the federal level.
No surprise, Wolf’s proposal for a new state tax on lottery winnings is hardly a winner with local lottery players.
“I think they should stay untaxed,” says Heather Ramsey of Carrick. “It’s something that you win, and it’s a winning. It’s like a gift. It’s something that should be given to you and not be taxed at all.”
Some say a tax would discourage people from playing, but Wolf rejects that claim.
“I don’t think an additional three percent is going to affect a person’s willingness to take a risk,” says Wolf.
For others, it’s a matter of principle.
“We want to win the Lottery to get money in our pockets, not to give it away to everybody else,” says Debbie Popp of Lincoln Place.
The state legislature would need to approve the change before a tax could be levied on lottery winnings.
“I don’t think the state should have it,” adds Popp.