Dunbar Says Yes to On-Time, Fiscally Responsible State Budget, Does Not Support $2 Billion Gas Tax Increase
HARRISBURG – Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) issued the following statement regarding passage of the $28.4 billion 2013-14 state budget. For the third consecutive year, Dunbar voted yes on a fiscally responsible, on-time spending plan which does not raise taxes.

“While I am once again pleased to vote for a state budget that holds the line on overall spending, makes another historic investment in K-12 education and responsibly prioritizes the necessary funding for all other core government functions, for me, the best thing about this year’s budget is what it does not contain. Specifically, this plan does not contain new gas taxes or any other tax or fee increases.

“As your legislator I have stood firm in my stance on the transportation funding issue. In short, while I do support increased funding for transportation, I do not support this coming at taxpayers’ expense.

“Senate Bill 1, the only transportation funding bill presently before the General Assembly, is primarily paid for by lifting the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax. This would result in an estimated increase of 28.5 cents for a gallon of gas over the next three years. Coupled with the fact that this legislation also includes a $500 million increase for public transportation, I will remain a resounding no.

“My disdain for a nearly $2 billion annual gas tax increase, especially one where parts of the proceeds go to public transit, is not a secret. I assume this is what has precipitated much of the recent ‘pressure’ from the business community. Our local business leaders have been pushing your legislators to vote for higher gasoline taxes in order to get their favored Laurel Valley Connector project moving.”

“I too agree that funding this project should be a top priority; however, an annual $2 billion gas tax to pay for a $30 million project is just not sound policy. Since Pennsylvania already spends more than $6 billion annually on transportation needs, this project should be completed no matter what level transportation funding ends up at for the coming fiscal year.

“Before raising taxes, Pennsylvania must consider the elimination of inefficiencies and other duplicative administrative functions from PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. We also must consider moving the state police budget allocation out of transportation and into the General Fund where it rightfully belongs.

“In conclusion, the transportation funding proposal currently being discussed is not the answer. Hopefully, this fall we will find a funding solution that makes fiscal sense and does not burden Pennsylvania taxpayers yet again.”

Representative George Dunbar
56th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Ty McCauslin
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