Corbett did not cut education funding
The claim that the Commonwealth’s subsidization of the teachers’ pension fund does not count toward the budget is a related myth. The teachers’ pension fund has counted toward the education budget for the last four decades. School real estate taxes have risen primarily because of
Corbett did not under-fund pensions
Several factors have combined to produce
pension crisis before Corbett took office in 2011. First, benefits were raised in 2001. The Commonwealth subsequently reduced funding
a number of times over the years during previous administrations. In addition, the fund was depleted by stock
market losses after the Panic of 2008.
Natural gas companies do pay taxes to Pennsylvania
The comparison of
Pennsylvania to other states
that impose natural gas extraction fees on gas drilling companies does not account
for a key difference: Pennsylvania, which
taxes both corporate income and assets, has the highest corporate tax burden in
the United States. Like companies in every other industry,
natural gas companies pay corporate taxes.
On top of corporate taxes, the natural gas industry also pays an impact
fee to counties and municipalities for road repair, emergency response needs,
environmental remediation and other related costs. These impact fees amount to over $200 million
Corbett did not raise taxes
Corbett kept his promise not to raise taxes to balance the Commonwealth’s budget, despite a four billion-dollar shortfall leftover from the previous administration. He also did not raise tax rates. In fact, Corbett cut taxes, including various business taxes, such as restarting the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax and exempting small family-owned businesses from estate taxes. Corbett did lift an arbitrary cap on gasoline taxes, which are a user fee that periodically must be raised to keep up with inflation, in order to fund an urgent major transportation bill approved by the Republican majority legislature to repair roads, bridges and make other transportation improves. Without adjusting gas taxes, Pennsylvanians would have had to continue to pay more for every good that was shipped by truck because of longer routes that were necessitated by poor roads and bridges, upon which weight restrictions had been imposed because of structural deficiency.