As I pointed out in last week’s post, Tom Corbett’s answer during last week’s gubernatorial debate that he would repay federal government aid to the state’s unemployment fund by decreasing unemployment benefits and increasing payroll contributions amounts to an acknowledgment that taxes may go up.
And this came from the candidate who keeps touting his promise to “never raise your taxes,” apparently come hell or high water, no matter what kind of economic difficulties the state, country or world may face over the next eight years.
Now, the Corbett camp is laughably trying to get itself out of another verbal gaffe on the part of its candidate, by ridiculously trying to claim that employee payroll taxes are not taxes at all but “contributions.”
Yeah, right—somehow I don’t think Pennsylvania workers see it that way. Not to mention the fact that both the state and U.S. Supreme Courts have interpreted “contribution” to mean “tax.”
But Corbett’s unintentional admission brings up a couple of points.
First, despite the GOP’s pandering rhetoric about “decreasing spending” and “decreasing taxes,” there are financial and economic realities that must be faced and dealt with, sadly for those who’d like to swallow this pabulum whole without looking too closely at the details.
And second, while Corbett seems intent on keeping his “no tax increase” pledge to businesses, he doesn’t seem to mind at all asking working Pennsylvanians to make still more sacrifices to meet the state’s obligations while continuing to let his corporate benefactors slide on carrying their fare share of the burden.
There should not be a payroll tax hike until we get rid of Geoffrey Giraffe, until we clean up all the crazy tax expenditures, until we have a severance tax on fracking, until we raise the gas tax, until there is a tax on soda, and until we raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. In my view all of these are better, and less damaging to the economy than raising payroll taxes and cutting unemployment benefits.