Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

By Lowman S. Henry

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers
You get what we vote for ha ha ha

Pennsylvania motorists already pay one of the highest state gasoline taxes in the nation thanks to what was effectively a 30-cent per gallon tax hike during the Tom Corbett Administration. Now, a new multi-state compact advocated by radical environment interests threatens to add to that tax burden.

As with most policies pushed by the Left, this one has a lofty sounding name, it is called the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Its goal is to ratchet up the war on carbon-based fuels by setting new goals for the reduction of their use. And, of course, there is the usual tug at the heart strings rhetoric as the “initiative” seeks to “maximize environmental, economic, social, and public health benefits.”

If you cut through the spin, what actually is being proposed is a tax grab to fund dubious “low carbon technologies” which cannot compete in the marketplace because they are ineffective, overly expensive or both; and – surprise – redirect more money to urban mass transit systems. As Inconvenient Facts author Greg Wrightstone puts it: “They want to take money from Perry County (rural Pennsylvania) and give it to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.”

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

As Wrightstone explained the compact on a recent edition of Lincoln Radio Journal, the Wolf Administration has entered into an agreement with nine other mostly northeastern states to cap each of the states’ carbon emissions from transportation (your car). The states have one year to come up with a plan. Such plans will most certainly include additional taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. Then, Wrightstone concluded, the money will be “redistributed” to “low carbon transportation systems” – in other words urban mass transit.

Those urban transportation systems, specifically the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in the Philadelphia region and Port Authority Transit (PAT) in the Pittsburgh area have an insatiable appetite for public dollars and annually develop new schemes to fleece taxpayers from other regions to subsidize the many and well-documented inefficiencies and outright corruption that regularly plague those agencies.

Thus, the lofty sounding Transportation and Climate Initiative allows Governor Wolf to advance two of his top agenda items: establish a new revenue stream to keep urban mass transit afloat and penalize users of carbon-based fuels. Keep in mind, those users include you every time you start your car or use a product that was delivered to the store by motor vehicle, which is to say everything.

In addition to the cost to consumers, higher taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel will increase the cost of doing business for companies based in Pennsylvania. This will put them at a competitive disadvantage with states that are not part of this ideologically driven compact. Notably, the state of Ohio declined to participate in the boondoggle, correctly seeing an opportunity to gain a competitive edge over Pennsylvania-based businesses.

All of this raises the issue of how new and/or higher taxes will be imposed. Since this is an administrative agreement, it is entirely possible, even likely, the Wolf Administration will attempt to bypass the General Assembly and impose the new cost as a regulatory fee.

There are many reasons to believe the governor will try that route. First, with Republicans in control of both houses of the General Assembly, the chances of winning legislative approval for a fuel tax increase, especially in the House, are slim to none. Second, the General Assembly has a recent history of allowing its constitutional authority to be usurped by other branches of government without putting up an effective fight.

For example, last year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in clear violation of the state constitution, abrogated the legislature’s power to draw congressional district lines and instituted by judicial fiat a new congressional district map gerrymandered to favor Democrats in the 2018 election. Legislative Republicans howled in protest, even appealed to the federal courts. But they failed to take the one action that would have been effective: impeach the offending justices, especially one who in a blatant breach of judicial ethics campaigned on doing exactly what was done.

So Governor Wolf can be forgiven if he believes he can impose an entire new layer of taxation on We the People of Penn’s Woods without the legislature taking any effective action to stop him. But – this is an issue where legislative leaders, particularly those in the state Senate, need to stiffen their spines and take a stand.

The policy goals of the Transportation and Climate Initiative are dubious at best. This is a clear tax grab for urban mass transit, and consumers are already overburdened when it comes to gas and fuel taxes. Even for the legislative faint of heart this is a battle worth fighting.

Lowmen Henry is chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal

Wolf Plans More Pain For PA Drivers

For a story regarding a controversial video becoming an anthem of the Yellow Vest movement visit here.

Pennsylvania Gas Tax Hike Kicks In Jan. 1

Pennsylvania Gas Tax Hike Kicks In Jan. 1 — Pennsylvania’s gasoline tax rises 8 cents, Jan. 1. It’s  a consequence of the the 2013 bill that doomed Gov. Corbett because the state legislature couldn’t find money via increased efficiencies to fund infrastructure improvements — a feat easily accomplished by even a blind squirrel assuming the squirrel had a spine.

So Pennsylvanians, fill up today or tomorrow to save some dollars and don’t be surprised if you find yourself scheduling more shopping trips to sales-tax free Delaware for replenishing the tank. Pennsylvania Gas Tax Hike Kicks In Jan. 1

Pennsylvania Gas Tax Hike Kicks In Jan. 1 so fill up now

CorbettCott vs GasCott

Don Adams of the always brilliant Independence Hall Tea Party Association proposed a “GasCott” during a recent appearance on WHPT’s Dom Giordano show.

He’s encouraging Pennsylvanians to fill their tanks in New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware in response to the gas tax hike imposed last November by our Republican-led state government that will give our state the highest gas tax in the nation by 2018.

Don, by the time the full tax takes effect encouragement will not be needed to fill up in other states.

To  make our anger known in the short-term, we propose a CorbettCott. Leave Gov. Tom Corbett’s name unchecked during the May 20 primary election while voting for the down-ticket.  If enough Republicans do this, maybe a cleansing gale could be started to blow away the corrupt (insert an appropriate noun) who run the state party.

CorbettCott Final Insult

CorbettCott, The Final Insult

Steve Barrar Statement Concerning Gas Tax Hike

Below is a statement sent by Rep. Steve Barrar regarding HB 1060 — the former SB1– which called for spending $2.4 billion in state spending on transportation projects will funded by an increase in the state gasoline tax along with hikes to various driver fees.

The final House vote came Nov. 21 and was 113 to 85 with a 64  Republicans and 48 Democrats voting aye, and 45 Republicans and 40 Democrats in opposition. Barrar was among the nays.

The day before the Senate voted, 43-7,  in concurrence with the House bill. Scott Hutchinson of the 21st District and Kim Ward of the 39th District were the only Republican dissenters. The Democrat minority went 17-5 for the bill.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Steve Barrar sent the statement to a member of the Delaware County Patriots.

“Thanks for contacting me about the SB1 transportation funding bill. I am opposed to this legislation and wanted to explain why I will vote against this bill today. Since learning even more about the numerous tax increases contained in the bill, I am determined to do all possible to defeat this bill unless there is an opportunity to amend it with language that will reduce the amount of the tax increases.

The tax increases in HB1060 the former Senate Bill 1 are excessive… 28.5 cent gas increase and .39 cent on diesel over 3 to 5 years will be hard for many people to deal with, plus the bill raises almost every fee there is at PennDot and places a $100 surcharge on traffic tickets. This bill will have a huge impact on small businesses and its inflationary impact is unpredictable.

The bill also allows counties to put on a $5 registration fee on every car in the county where you live. They can do anything they want with the money.

I have been out the past few months asking people and small business owner how they feel about this proposed legislation… over 80% have said no way would they support this bill. I stood at the WAWA last Sunday for 2 hours asking people about this legislation. I had a grand total of 1 person say they were OK with the bill. Most were surprised saying that they have not heard anything about a gas tax increase and many were very angry and demanded I promise to vote no for such a large increase.

I agree we need more money for transportation infrastructure, but we need a way to fund it that makes sense and reflects what we can afford !!! This bill hurts more then it helps and I can not support this proposal.

I appreciate your taking time to write me. If you need to discuss this further please contact me at 610-636-7924. Thank you!”

Stephen Barrar
Pa House of Reps.
160th Legislative District

District    / PA Representative    Yes    No
159    Thaddeus Kirkland (D)    X
160    Stephen Barrar (R)          X
161    Joseph Hackett (R)    X
162    Nick Miccarelli (R)    X
163    Nicholas Micozzie (R)    X
164    Margo Davidson (D)    X
165    William Adolph (R)    X
166    Greg Vitali (D)    X
168    Tom Killion (R)    X
185    Maria Donatucci (D)    X
191    Ronald Waters (D)    X


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Corbett Gas Tax Path To Single Digit Approval

By Chris Freind Corbett Gas Tax Path To Single Digit Approval

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A hearty round of applause to Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled House and Senate! By granting GOP Governor Tom Corbett his most highly-sought prize — the nation’s highest gas and diesel taxes — the legislature has ensured two things: 1. Tommy Boy will lose next year’s election by an even bigger margin, and 2. he is now likely to achieve the impossible: an approval rating in the single digits.

To be fair, the last one’s not all that hard, since he was already in the toilet at a historically low 17 percent approval.

About the only thing more monumental than the rear-ending Corbett just gave his citizens via the second-largest tax increase in state history is his “bi-partisan” legacy, as no one has done more for the Democratic Party.

By being himself, the Governor has already presided over the GOP losing the Attorney General’s office for the first time in history (his former position, where he botched the Jerry Sandusky investigation). Additionally, under his “leadership,” Republicans have lost 10 percent of their senators, Democrats won the other two statewide offices (Treasurer and Auditor General), and Corbett’s hand-picked U.S. senate candidate — who supported both Barack Obama and Joe Sestak — got crushed in last year’s primary, coming in an embarrassing third.

Corbett’s insistence on the tax- and fee-laden transportation bill, now law, will, quite possibly, give the Democrats control of the Senate for the first time in decades and seriously erode the House’s sizable majority.

If that’s a “victory” for Corbett, what the hell’s a defeat?

Are the House and Senate also responsible for this debacle? Of course. They caved in, playing the go-along, get-along game. But it’s Tom Corbett on whose shoulders this disaster squarely falls.

And not only will it be a disaster of epic proportions, chasing jobs and revenue out of Pennsylvania, but it was wholly avoidable. Let’s review:

1. First and foremost, Corbett says his transportation law, which will increase gasoline prices by over 28 cents per gallon while diesel will skyrocket as much as 20 cents higher per gallon than prices in the next highest state, won’t violate his campaign pledge of no new taxes. And apparently the increases in drivers license, registration and title fees, as well as a six-fold increase in moving violation penalties, don’t count as “taxes” either.

He can play semantics all day long, but a tax is a tax is a tax.

Even though Corbett is generally considered one of the most intellectually-challenged politicians in the nation, that one hits a new low. He has already violated his pledge by raising taxes several times, but now he expects us to believe that the mammoth spike at the pump won’t be directly caused by the bill he pushed? Maybe the Toronto mayor isn’t the only one using mind-altering substances.

2. The tax increase was completely unnecessary. The Harrisburg think-tank Commonwealth Foundation spells it out: Pennsylvania spends $71,000 per road mile, 11th highest of any state; state highway spending exceeds $660 per person, more than 26 other states; and transportation spending has doubled over the last 17 years. That’s not too shabby.

Maybe if Corbett hadn’t bailed out a shipyard to build ships with no buyers, spent taxpayer money to build a baseball stadium for the Yankees’ AAA affiliate, wasted millions on legal fees to stop the NCAA sanctions against Penn State (which he favored before he was against them), and dished out huge consulting fees trying to outsource the lottery to a foreign firm (just to name a few), there would be enough money to avoid our getting bent over the oil barrel.

3. Corbett says this legislation will create 50,000 jobs and save 12,000 others. But wait. He always claimed that government doesn’t create jobs — only the private sector does. Guess that was campaign rhetoric, just another example, on a very long list, of Corbett’s say-one-thing-but-do-the-opposite existence.

Let’s be very clear here. Massive tax increases never create jobs. In this case, the reason is obvious. Since 100 percent of everything we buy gets delivered via truck, and trucks use lots of gas and diesel fuel, trucking companies will be shelling out substantially more in fuel costs. One of two things will happen: A) some will go out of business, as numerous companies did when fuel costs spiked in 2008 (translation for Corbett: loss of jobs), or some will move out of Pennsylvania to more tax-friendly states (loss of jobs). And as has been the case since the Phoenicians, business taxes and fees will be passed along to the consumer, and small businesses will be forced to raise prices and lay off employees (loss of jobs).

That should have been a simple enough concept, but since Corbett and many legislators have never worked in the private sector, never had to meet a payroll, and never experienced the catastrophic results of a huge tax increase, what did we expect?

4. Millions will gas up in border states, depriving Pennsylvania of any gas tax revenue (anytime New York does something better, you know it’s bad). But this is nothing new, as billions in revenue are lost as Pennsylvanians buy liquor elsewhere to avoid the 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax (the tax to rebuild that city from the 1936 flood), and sales tax on top of that, so why should buying gas in other states be any different?

5. Another half-billion will go into that bottomless pit known as public transit. Great. So busses will continue to operate with 2 people on board and SEPTA once again gets away with not having to operate like an efficient business. And why should it? The taxpayer bailouts never end!

6. More of our tax money will go toward the Pennsylvania Turnpike, despite five consecutive years of toll hikes. During that time, tolls have risen a whopping 70 percent for drivers paying cash and 35 percent for EZ PASS, yet more of our money is now thrown into that black hole. Nothing like perpetuating a massive failure.

7. Despite the predictions of so-called “political experts” who think Corbett will benefit from this tax hike, nothing could be further from the truth. No one ever votes on transportation funding at the ballot box. Sure, polls showed that people wanted their bridges and roads repaired — but those surveys conveniently left out the part about gas taxes going through the roof. When that tidbit is mentioned, support tanks.

Yet Corbett thinks that people will reward him for the privilege of sitting through endless construction and congestion, while seeing their gas gauge constantly scream “cha-ching.”

If the Governor were a comedian, he would be a gas. But since we’re getting the “close your eyes” gas nozzle treatment, it’s no laughing matter.

But there’s a bright spot. At least his single digit approval will be.

Corbett Gas Tax Path To Single Digit Approval


Repub Rep Rips Corbett Gas Tax

The below statement is by State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129)

The Pennsylvania  House this week approved a bill that will drive up costs for Pennsylvania drivers on everything from filling up their gasoline tanks to registering their cars and renewing their driver’s licenses. I voted against the bill.

House Bill 1060 will phase out the cap on a tax on oil companies, which they are not prevented from passing along to drivers through higher gasoline prices. I consider this to be a tax increase, while others may try to defend it as a “fee-based service.”

It also calls for increases in the cost for vehicle registrations and driver’s license renewals, both of which will continually increase in future years. The bill also includes numerous increases in fines associated with certain traffic violations.

Some of the new money collected through these changes will be sent to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to further subsidize their buses and trains. This portion of the bill is obviously not a “fee-based service” since the money to operate these mass transit systems will be provided by Pennsylvania drivers.

Some of my colleagues and I have continually argued for more fiscally conservative and responsible measures to address our Commonwealth’s transportation needs. For example, we could consider:

•    Legislation that would prioritize transportation spending decisions so that money is used for road and bridge repairs instead of ancillary projects.
•    Proposals to reform or replace the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission by rolling it into the existing Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which would reduce the number of inefficiencies that result from having multiple agencies.
•    Plans to identify alternative funding sources, such as the hundreds of millions of dollars currently used to pay for the Pennsylvania State Police that are taken out of a fund that was originally designated to pay for road and bridge repairs.

Many Pennsylvanians are still struggling with the negative financial consequences that have followed the housing market crash and resulting Great Recession. It is simply irresponsible to increase fees and raise taxes on our families and businesses to pay for the transportation wish list contained in House Bill 1060. While I realize the importance of maintaining our transportation infrastructure, there are commonsense approaches, which I fully support, that would more directly address these needs.

Repub Rep Rips Corbett Gas Tax

Corbett Gas Tax Makes Media Lick Chops

Corbett Gas Tax Makes Media Lick ChopsWell it is happening. After the GOP shot itself in the foot, yesterday, with the Pennsylvania House vote to push through a massive gasoline tax hike, the old media that had been screaming about the need to save our transportation infrastructure is now using words like “Hosed” in headlines while pointing out that Pennsylvanians are likely going to have the highest gas prices in the nation.

Pennsylvania’s House, Senate and governor’s office are all controlled by Republicans. While just about every Democrat was behind this cruel increase, their fingerprints are not on it. Once again Lucy has pulled the football from Charlie Brown.

The only upside is that the Tea Party “Republicans” — and we can leave that word in quotes as  party membership to us is a means to an end not a religion — are on record as being the only vocal opponents to this action.

The Independence Hall Tea Party Association — the first (only?) Tea Party group to endorse Mitt Romney; the group that has bent over backwards, usually wisely, to defend Republicans under fire from the grassroots — has announced it is withholding support from Gov. Corbett in his upcoming re-election.

“Governor Tom Corbett, obviously, twisted the arms of Republican State Representatives in order pass this disastrous piece of legislation,” said Association President Teri Adams.  “Instead of cutting funds from other areas of the budget to pay for needed bridge and road repairs around the state, the Governor and his minions decided to sock it to the taxpayers.”

Yes, Tom, you are hosed. I’m thinking about switching my registration this primary in the hope of getting at least a quasi-sane Democrat to replace you because you are going to be replaced. Of course, doing so means I lose my chance to primary my state rep so one must give it some thought.

Corbett Gas Tax Makes Media Lick Chops


Corbett Gas Tax Passes House

The Pennsylvania consumer took a wicked shot to the gut yesterday, Nov. 19, when an amendment by State Rep. Nick Micozzie (R-163) caused the State House to switch directions and pass  a $2.3 billion transportation bill that will raise the state gas tax and other motor vehicle cost such as vehicle registration fees. Corbett Gas Tax Passes House

The bill uncaps the oil franchise tax will will raise the price at the pump 28 cents over five years albeit the Delaware County Daily Times is reporting that the Micozzie amendment ends the 12 cent retail pump tax that would ease the pain to a 16 cent hike.

Miccozie amendment also raises the limit for the prevailing wage mandate from $25,000 to $100,000, an almost trivial reform despite the ire of the union demonstrators picketing his in Clifton Heights and Upper Darby yesterday.  The new standard would have only affected 17 jobs in the state last year, mostly municipal projects in rural areas. The prevailing wage mandate adds about 20 percent to the cost of construction projects.  It should be noted that the $25,000 limit had not been changed since the law was passed in 1961. With inflation, $25,000 then would be about $180,000 today.

Thanks for little, Nick.

The plan calls for spending $1.65 billion on highways and bridges, $497 million on mass transit and $144 million on “multi-modal” transportation.

The entire Delaware County contingent voted for the bill — except for Steve Barrar (R-160). Thank you, Steve.

The bill, SB1,  now goes back to the Senate — which passed the original 45-5 on June 5 — to consider the House changes. After they approve it again, it will be signed by Gov. Corbett who has made this monstrosity his signature legislation.

Here’s a final thought if the spending was going to be primarily funded by a 28 cent gas tax hike and  Miccozie’s amendment cuts this by 12 cents by ending the retail pump tax as the Daily Times reported, where is the money going to come from to fund this project the scope of which does not seem to have changed?

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Corbett Gas Tax Passes House


House Saves Pennsylvania

The GOP-controlled Pennsylvania House, yesterday, Nov. 18,  rejected, 103-98, a $2.3 billion “transportation” bill that would have given the state the highest gasoline tax in the nation.

The 103 compassionate legislators who killed it understood that the citizens of this state are hurting and just can’t have any more taken from them whether it be from taxes or mandates or just general crony capitalist greed.

It would have also increased other things such as vehicle registration fees and turnpike tolls.

The plan was strongly supported by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled Senate. There was no Democrat opposition to it. The only bulwark against it was the Republicans in the House. It held.

Thank you.

The plan called for spending $1.65 billion on highways and bridges, $497 million on mass transit and $144 million on “multi-modal” transportation.

It should be noted that most if not all the money would have gone to those with connections whether it be prevailing-wage construction work to protected unions or those working for government authorities such as at SEPTA.

Are our highways and bridges really in that bad shape? Well, here’s a thought: vote on each bridge and highway project individually. Sure, it would be more work but it’s not as though our legislators are being paid pocket change.

For those who cry crisis and claim to be supporters of the public good here’s another thought: Demand that these jobs be exempted from the prevailing wage requirements mandate that hikes the cost of construction by 20 percent on the average. Granted, that concerning the highway work federal reform would be required as well but it would be nice to see this start being discussed as proof that those we elect to represent us actually do so — and understand the issue.

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GOP Destroying Tax Vote Looms

SB 1, aka “The Transportation Bill” aka “The Income Destroyer Bill” aka “The Republican Suicide Bill” may be voted on by the Pennsylvania State House this week, reports Teri Adams of the Independence Hall Tea Party Association.

The bill calls for a 30 cent per gallon tax hike on gasoline, among other things. It was approved by the Senate in June but tabled when those crazy Tea Party types in the House put up a fuss. Well, it looks like it’s now time for round two and the establishment “Hey, It’s Not My Money” Republicans seem to think they can make enough of a deal with the “IT’S MY MONEY, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME” Democrats to overcome the Tea Partyers.

Gov. Tom “I Need No Stinkin’ Second Term” Corbet has promised to sign it.

“Just so you know, Governor Tom Corbett and a majority of the PA Senate  refuse to call a gas tax increase of roughly $.30 a gallon a ‘tax.’  Just substitute the euphemism ‘revenue’ for the word ‘tax’ and allow them to take you to the cleaners,” said Ms. Adams.

She notes that the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry also supports the bill as parts of the state’s infrastructure is indesperate need of repair.

“But State Representative Stephen Barrar (R-160) informs us that the $2.5 billion Transportation Bill is laden with pork for bike trails and other parks and recreation spending,” said said. “Representative Barrar suggests that while bridge repair is necessary, the additional spending is not.”

Also, the citizen cannot afford a 30 cent per gallon gas tax hike.

Ms. Adams and her association suggest Governor Corbett and the PA Assembly cut spending elsewhere in the budget or pass the Liquor Privatization Bill and use the fees generated from the sale of liquor licenses to cover the cost of repairing the bridges.

“Why is it that our Governor and State Senators always look to our wallets as the solution to their funding problems.  Do they not understand that our wallets are empty?” She said. “Do our elected officials not know how to prioritize budgetary matters?”

She asks that citizens call House Majority Leader Mike Turzai at 717-772-9943 and tell him to table SB1–the Gas Tax Bill!

“Then call your State Representative and tell him/her to VOTE NO on SB1 if and when it comes up for a vote,” she said.

To find your legislator and/or legislator contact information, visit here.

Ms. Adams thanked  Dom Giordano and Rep. Barrar for bringing this critical issue to light.

GOP Destroying Tax Vote

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