Political analyst: Rendell playing chess game with income tax hike

    Pennsylvania state Senate Republicans say there’s no way they’ll support the Governor’s income tax hike, and many conservative House Democrats say they have their doubts, as well.

    With Governor Rendell’s tax increase seemingly dead on arrival in the General Assembly, political observers are wondering what motivated him to propose it.

    Governor Rendell’s proposal would increase the commonwealth’s personal income tax by more than 16 %, and cost families earning $50,000 a year five dollars a week.

    That’s a non-starter with the majority of state Senators, not to mention a good portion of the House.

    Political scientist Chris Borick of Muhlenberg College doesn’t think Rendell really wants to up the income tax, rate, though.

    Instead, Borick suggests Rendell is shifting the political terrain so conservative lawmakers can support his targeted tax proposals.

    Borick: This gives them a bit of cover to say, I didn’t allow the income tax to go through. I fought for it. It was stopped. We did have to make some sacrifices, given the fiscal realities in the state. And it gives them a bit of room, or wiggle room, in terms of going back to their constituents.

    Rendell says Pennsylvania needs some sort of new revenue to bridge a $3.2 billion deficit.

    He wants to tax smokeless tobacco, and impose a levy on natural gas extractions from the Marcellus Shale.

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