Saccone Votes Against Largest Spending Increase in a Decade
– Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington) forcefully spoke out Wednesday against a budget plan that increases state spending by $1.29 billion and raises state taxes by more than $750 million.
“Last week, I warned constituents in our district to grab their wallets – that tax increases were coming, and today they’ve arrived,” lamented Saccone. “This budget increases spending by the widest margins in nearly a decade. Particularly troublesome is the fact it finances spending increases by borrowing $200 million from other state accounts – money that must be paid back and will only make budget shortfalls in subsequent years worse.”
Saccone further decried the budget plan’s reliance on a new $1 per pack cigarette tax, warning it targets poor residents and opens the door to a black market with alleged ties to organized crime and terrorist organizations.
“People say, ‘Oh, sure, raise the cigarette tax. That’s the easiest one to increase,” said Saccone. “What is seldom mentioned is that high cigarette taxes encourage criminals to smuggle cigarettes from out of state. This underground trafficking funds a bevy of illegal activities. Our cigarette taxes will now be $3 a pack higher than those sold in West Virginia. Folks in the Philly area would be spending $4.25 per pack more than their neighbors in Delaware – an invitation for criminal exploitation.”
Saccone said lawmakers should instead focus on limiting state spending.
“It’s ironic that some who argue increasing cigarette taxes will encourage citizens to give up their smoking habit, failing to recognize this tax increase makes state government’s spending habit worse,” said Saccone. “We should be working to cut state spending, not raising taxes on hard-working men and women in our state.”
To see Saccone’s full remarks, Click here or upon the video box above
Representative Rick Saccone
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ryan Travis, 717.260.6335