Gov. Tom Wolf will propose a tax increase on top earners in order to help fund public schools. The Pennsylvania Governor will announce his budget for the coming state fiscal year Wednesday. However, his administration began releasing details of the plan to The Associated Press ahead of the budget address.
As stated in a NBC Philadelphia report, under the plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Wolf, will ask the Republican-controlled Legislature for what could approach $2 billion extra for public schools.
The biggest part of that, $1.35 billion, would be distributed to schools to pay for their primary operations, like teacher salaries, operations costs and supplies, on top of the $6.8 billion they currently receive, Jen Swails, Wolf’s budget secretary, said in an interview.
The majority of that $8.1 billion would go out through a 5-year-old school funding formula designed to iron out inequities in how Pennsylvania funds the poorest public schools. A portion of the tax increase would ensure that no school district receives less than it does now, officials said.
Special education aid
Schools also would receive another $200 million for special education aid, on top of the $1.2 billion they currently receive, in addition to other sums of money, Swails said.
The personal income tax increase would take the rate to 4.49% from 3.07%, but increase the exemption for the lowest earners.
The lowest earners, about 40% of the total, would pay less in income tax, while approximately the top one-third of taxpayers would pay more, Swails added.
Lawmakers last approved a tax increase in 2004. The governor’s plan to increase the personal income tax would raise about $3 billion extra.
That means an increase of more than 20% when compared with 2019, the last fiscal year before the pandemic disrupted the economy and tax deadlines.The rest of the money would go to help plug a projected multibillion-dollar deficit in the state’s operations, Swails said.