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Highlights of Gov. Tom Wolf’s second state budget proposal
HARRISBURG — Highlights of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending plan for the 2016-17 budget year that starts July 1:
THE BIG PICTURE
— Increases spending through the state’s main bank account to nearly $33.3 billion. That is a two-year increase of $4.3 billion, or 14 percent, from the last full-year, enacted budget.
— Raises taxes by nearly $3 billion on income, sales, natural gas drilling, insurance premiums, banks and tobacco.
— Does not revive a $3.2 billion school property tax relief plan he proposed last year as part of an effort to shift burden of public school funding away from local school districts.
— INCOME: Increases rate 11 percent, to 3.4 percent from the current 3.07 percent, to raise $1.4 billion. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
— SALES: Keeps rate at 6 percent, but eliminates exemptions on basic cable TV, movie theater tickets and digital downloads to raise $415 million. Effective April 1, 2016.
— CIGARETTES: Raises per-pack tax to $2.60, from $1.60, to raise $468 million. Effective April 1, 2016. Extends a 40 percent wholesale tax to sales of cigars, loose tobacco, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes to generate $136 million. Effective May 1, 2016; for loose tobacco, effective July 1, 2016.
— NATURAL GAS: Imposes a new tax on natural-gas production — 6.5 percent of value — to generate $218 million. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
— INSURANCE PREMIUMS: Imposes a surcharge of 0.5 percent of premiums to fire, property and casualty insurance to generate $101 million. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
— CASINO GAMBLING: Imposes new 8 percent tax on promotional plays at casinos to generate $51 million. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
— BANKS: Raises rate of shares tax on bank and trust companies to 0.99 percent, from 0.89 percent, to generate $39 million. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
— TAX FORGIVENESS: Expands eligibility limits to families of four making up to $36,400, for a tax expenditure of $83 million. The current limit is $34,250. Effective Jan. 1, 2016.
— Increases aid for public school operations and instruction by $565 million, a two-year increase of 10 percent to $6.3 billion.
— Increases early-childhood education funding by $90 million, an increase of 54 percent to $256 million.
— Increases special education funding by $70 million, a 6.5 percent increase, to $1.15 billion.
— Increases aid to higher education, including state system universities, state-related universities, student grants and community colleges, by 5 percent to $1.7 billion.
— EDUCATION: Grows 22 percent over two years, to $12.9 billion.
— HUMAN SERVICES: Grows 12 percent over two years, to $12.7 billion.
— CORRECTIONS: Grows 22 percent over two years, to $2.6 billion.
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