Economy
8:00 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Labor Groups Ask Lawmakers To Close Tax Loopholes

A coalition of public labor unions is suggesting a series of reforms to help the state save more than $2 billion and avoid more cuts to education and unspecified "vital services."

It's a list several pages thick itemizing ideas for saving millions at a time including a call to close a corporate tax loophole, a move which recently received bipartisan support. That loophole currently allows corporations to avoid paying taxes on certain proffits they transfer to holdings in Delaware.

Another suggestion is to simply modernize the state's liquor system instead of selling the state stores altogether as is being pushed by House Republicans.

Mike Brunelle, with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), said Governor Corbett's no-new-tax pledge shouldn't mean tabling any discussion on tax reforms and new funding sources.

"Not considering these proposals out of an ideological desire to needlessly cut programs or fulfill a promise made to out-of-state special interests is short-sighted and unwise at best," said Brunelle.

Rick Bloomingdale, with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, said closing various tax loopholes and imposing a tax on oil and gas companies could net the commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

"And I understand, these are tough times. Incomes aren't growing, so tax revenues aren't up. But now is not the time to be giving tax breaks and tax rewards to those corporations that are making millions of dollars. They should be paying their fair share. That's what this is about. This is about fairness," Bloomingdale said.

Bloomingdale also said the coalition isn't trying to slam the administration, it is just asking them "not to do what they did last year."

The governor unveils his budget proposal for 2012-13 on Tuesday. The current year's spending plan is $2 billion less than the previous year's.