GOP cool to Wolf’s Pa. tax proposal

     Gov. Tom Wolf walks to the podium to speak to a business group about his upcoming budget at the MusikFest Café in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Wolf will seek to cut the commonwealth's major corporate income tax rate in half, but also try to broaden how it is applied. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Gov. Tom Wolf walks to the podium to speak to a business group about his upcoming budget at the MusikFest Café in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Wolf will seek to cut the commonwealth's major corporate income tax rate in half, but also try to broaden how it is applied. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Governor Tom Wolf’s plans to reduce Pennsylvania’s corporate taxes are getting a cool reception from Republican legislative leaders who are waiting for more details.

    On Wednesday, Wolf pulled back the curtain on a few of the “nice surprises” for pro-business groups in his budget proposal. He wants to bring the state’s much-maligned 9.99 percent corporate net income tax down to 4.99 percent over two years.

    Wolf is also calling for “combined reporting.” Enacted in at least 23 other states, the policy stops multistate corporations from escaping state taxes by transferring their profits elsewhere. Republicans have fought combined reporting proposals in recent years.

    GOP legislative leaders have called for lowering the corporate tax burden for years, and House Majority Leader Dave Reed said he was “certainly encouraged by the governor’s recognition that … here’s an opportunity to make a more competitive tax climate.”

    But Republicans caution that Wolf’s proposed tax cut could cost $1.25 billion a year – and they sent a message that they reserve the right to blast Wolf’s plans when they get the rest of his budget proposal.

    “We look forward to receiving and considering an entire package of specifics from the governor, not one idea floated at a time,” said GOP Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman.

    Wolf will deliver his budget address to a joint session of the House and Senate on Tuesday. Legislative leaders expect to get a briefing on the full proposal Monday evening.

    Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa applauded Wolf’s announcement.

    “What’s most important to me is that it’s a plan, and that’s one of the things that was missing for the past four years,” Costa said. “I think that’s why we’ve found ourselves in a place where … we haven’t been growing jobs to the same degree that others states around us have been growing jobs.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.