Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pennsylvania tax bite keeps growing

"The purpose of government is to serve the people and if government doesn't serve the people, there's no purpose in having a government."

That quote is at the bottom of all the e-mails I get from the Bradford County Concerned Citizens, which also ends its messages with this ditty: "Pennsylvania, Land of Taxes"

It's a new month. That means it's time to review all the different ways the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania relieves its residents of their hard-earned cash.

Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Revenue Department, which relishes reminding us at the start of each month how much it collected in taxes the previous month, here are the numbers:

The state collected $1.6 billion in General Fund revenue in February, $17.2 million, or 1.1 percent, more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $15.3 billion, which is $112.1 million, or 0.7 percent, above estimate.

Sales Tax receipts totaled $612.3 million for February, which was $15.1 million above estimate. Sales Tax collections year-to-date total $5.7 billion, which is $27.4 million below estimate or 0.5 percent less than anticipated.

Personal Income Tax (PIT) revenue in February was $697.7 million, which was $6.3 million below estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $6 billion, which is $67.2 million or 1.1 percent above estimate.

February Corporation Tax revenue of $79 million was $2.3 million below estimate. Year-to-date Corporation Tax collections total $1.8 billion, which is $82.2 million, or 4.9 percent, above estimate.

Other General Fund revenue figures for the month included $51.5 million in Inheritance Tax, which was $8 million below estimate and brought the year-to- date total to $481.3 million, which is $27.6 million below estimate.

Realty Transfer Tax was $33.9 million for February, bringing the total to $386.7 million for the year, which is $26.2 million less than anticipated.

Other General Fund revenue including the Cigarette, Malt Beverage and Liquor Tax totaled $113.4 million for the month, $23.6 million above estimate, bringing the year-to-date total to $918.5 million, which is $44 million above estimate.

In addition to the General Fund collections, the Motor License Fund received $169.3 million for the month, $2.3 million above estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund total $1.6 billion, which is $1.4 million or 0.1 percent above estimate.

The Gaming Fund received $168.5 million in unrestricted revenues for February. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund total $344.2 million. Gaming Fund receipts include taxes, fees and interest. Of the total for the month, $17.7 million was collected in state taxes for property tax relief, bringing the year-to-date total to $42.5 million.

Other gaming-related revenues collected for February included $2.1 million for the Local Share Assessment, for a total of $6 million for the year; $2.6 million for the Economic Development and Tourism Fund, for a year-to-date total of $6.2 million; and $6.2 million for the Race Horse Development Fund, bringing the total for the year to $15 million.

I don't know about you, but I can't afford to support our state government anymore. I'm putting my state representative and state senator on notice. If you vote for any new taxes or raising any existing taxes, I'm voting against you in 2008.

And forget about the members of my local school board. I'm voting all the incumbents our. They've raised my taxes every year I've lived in the district.

And I will be voting "no" on the Act 1 referendum on the May 15 ballot. It's bad enough my so-called elected representatives screw me every time by raising taxes. I'm not going to assist them by voting to raise my own taxes.

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