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What the proposed state budget means for you

February 7, 2018
3:20 PM

Gov. Tom Wolf this week delivered his fourth state budget address, proposing for fiscal year 2018-19 a $32.9 billion spending plan – a 3.1 percent increase over the current budget. A highlight of the plan: Some of the broad-based tax increases affecting independent agents and brokers that were part of previous budget proposals are not part of the current one.

No doubt in part to vigorous opposition (including our own) and due to the election year, an expansion of the sales tax to include professional services, including agent commissions, is among those not included in the current proposal. In fact, the only tax increase in the governor’s budget proposal is a renewed call for the enactment of a Marcellus Shale natural gas severance tax, estimated to bring in $250 million.

The governor’s plan calls again for full combined reporting (closing the “Delaware loophole”), allowing for a reduction in the state Corporate Net Income Tax from 9.99 to 7.99 by year 2023. The proposal also calls for an increase in the minimum wage to $12/hour.

Although the 2018-2019 budget season just began, major parts of Wolf’s current proposal that have been non-starters with the Republican-controlled legislature in past years include the severance tax and the minimum wage hike. The General Assembly adjourned this week for several weeks of budget hearings, during which time we’ll learn more details about many of these proposals.