Shapiro rolls out first tax relief plan of the Pa. governor’s race

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks with members of the media during a news conference, in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks with members of the media during a news conference, in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Democrat Josh Shapiro is rolling out the first tax proposal of his candidacy for governor, saying Friday that he would use surplus state cash and federal pandemic aid to eliminate state taxes on cell phone bills, send payments to car-owning households and expand Pennsylvania’s rent and property tax rebate program.

Shapiro’s plan comes out as gas prices rocket upward, and cutting gas taxes have become a hot topic.

In a news conference in Pittsburgh, Shapiro said the $250 payments to households for each passenger car and eliminating the cell phone tax would provide relief.

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Under the plan, households could get a $250 payment for each vehicle, paid for by federal pandemic aid.

At an estimated 8 million passenger vehicles in Pennsylvania, the cost would be $2 billion, but Shapiro’s campaign said some of those are corporate or government vehicles and won’t count.

Eliminating state sales and gross receipts taxes on cell phone bills — a total of 11% — would cost $317 million, Shapiro’s campaign said. His proposal to expand the property tax and rent rebate program would roughly triple the cost, by an estimated $424 million, and possibly expand the number of applicants by about 60%.

The combined cost would be footed by surplus state tax collections, Shapiro’s campaign said.

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