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Analysis: GOP plan would be a tax hike for 35% of Pa. residents | Wednesday Morning Coffee

The policy agenda drafted by U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., which calls for all Americans to pay federal income tax, is coming under increased scrutiny

March 9, 2022 7:08 am

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 26, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

After years of enduring the entirely justifiable criticism that the modern Republican Party was bereft of ideas and inspiration, and had instead merely become a vessel for the authoritarian delusions of one manU.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., decided to take matters into his own hands.

Scott, the head of the Senate Republicans’ re-election wing, sat down and came up with a policy agenda so uniformly terrible that some of his fellow Republicans (notably House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.), can’t bring themselves to support it, WFLA-TV reported.

Scott is coming in for scorching criticism for his suggestion that all Americans, regardless of their wealth, be required to pay federal income taxes.

While this may theoretically sound great on paper (Yes, we’re looking at you, Jeff Bezos), the consensus is that it would result in a massive tax hike for the poorest 40 percent of Americans, who would see their tax liability rise by an average of $1,000, according to one analysis.

The share of households facing tax hikes would vary across states, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, ranging from a low of about 24 percent in Washington State to high of roughly 50 percent in Mississippi, which is among the poorest states in the country.

Below, a look at how Pennsylvania would fare under Scott’s plan.

(Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy)

More than a third of Pennsylvania residents (35.6 percent) would see their taxes rise under Scott’s plan, according to the new analysis.

This is assuming, of course, that Republicans win back control of at least one chamber of Congress in this November’s midterm elections, and that McCarthyMcConnell, and other GOP lawmakers have some kind of change of heart.

Pennsylvania Democrats, as you might expect, pounced on the new analysis, warning in a statement that “Republicans have finally come clean about their economic agenda and it is a disaster for families and working people” across the state.

The Keystone State is, of course, home to one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate contests in the country, as Democrats and Republicans wage a high-stakes and hugely expensive contest for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, of Lehigh County, who is retiring at year’s end.

But not every Republican had distanced themselves from Scott’s plans.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc.told Breitbart News Daily on Monday that he agrees with “most of” Scott’s 11-point plan, which also includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, describing it as a “positive thing,” Wisconsin Politics reported.

File under: Hold my beer.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
After four months and more than 14,000 pages of testimony from nearly 40 witnesses, a landmark trial that could change how Pennsylvania pays for public education comes to an end this weekMarley Parish has the details.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a case challenging Pennsylvania’s 3-year-old, popular mail-in balloting law. Stephen Caruso tuned in, and has the story.

The United States will no longer import Russian energy in an attempt to further cripple that nation’s economy as it wages war against Ukraine, Capital-Star Washington Reporters Jennifer Shutt and Jacob Fischler report.

In a big year, Capital-Star Correspondent Frank Pizzoli takes stock of how Pa.’s progressive groups are making their presence felt.

The Allegheny County Health Department has issued U.S. Steel a fine of over $1.8 million for emissions it says causes a “rotten egg” smell and created “long-standing quality of life complaints from residents,” our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.

Faculty and staff at the University of Pennsylvania are calling on the Ivy League university to pay its ‘fair share’ to support Philly’s public schools, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report.

Thanks to the Ukraine War, Republicans appeared to have discovered that democracy is worth defending, I write in a new column. Let’s see if it lasts.

And on our Commentary Page, Patrick Beaty, of FairDistricts PA., offers a reminder that the Pennsylvania Constitution belongs to all citizens, not just the motivated minority that wants to change it. And Pa.’s new legislative maps are better, but not good enoughMike Walsh, a volunteer with Draw the Lines PA., writes.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, known best for hosting the “Dr. Oz Show” (Submitted Photo)

Elsewhere.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate race are launching a ‘barrage’ of attack ads against the race’s only TV star: Mehmet Oz, the Inquirer reports.

Republican David McCormick, meanwhile, led the GOP U.S. Senate pack in a new Fox News pollPoliticsPA reports.

Pittsburgh City Councilmember Ricky Burgess, whose district includes the Fern Hollow Bridge, which collapsed earlier this year, has come up with a plan to pay for repairs to the city’s infrastructure: A 1 percent tax on people who use the city’s educational and medical nonprofits, the Post-Gazette reports.

A suburban Harrisburg school board’s discussion on whether to retire its Native American mascot devolved into fighting on Monday night, with officials unable to reach a decision, PennLive reports.

Lancaster City Council has approved a hike in downtown parking ratesLancasterOnline reports.

Philadelphia’s public schools will drop their mask mandate starting todayWHYY-FM reports.

Fertilizer prices were already rising for farmers. The war in Ukraine could make it worseWLVR-FM reports (via WITF-FM).

After a two-year hiatus, Erie’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will make its return this yearGoErie reports.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has endorsed Republican Lisa Scheller in the Lehigh Valley’s 7th Congressional DistrictCity & State Pa. reports.

Ultimately, it’ll be up to midterm voters to decide whether President Joe Biden or Vladimir Putin are responsible for rising gas pricesRoll Call reports.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

What Goes On
Budget Hearings roll on in the House and Senate.
10 a.m., Hearing Room 1 North Office Building: Senate Appropriations Committee (Dept. of Health; 2:30 p.m., Dept. of State)
10 a.m., House Floor: House Appropriations Committee (Dept. of Human Services, continues at 1 p.m.)

Also: The Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing meets in 523 Irvis. And the Performance-Based Budget Board meets at 5 p.m. in 418 Main Capitol.

WolfWatch
Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today (sometimes subject to change).

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to longtime Friend O’the BlogChristina Zarek, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s one from Phillip-Michael Scales for your Wednesday morning. It’s the very soulful ‘Find a Way.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin tied Jaromir Jagr for third on the NHL’s all-time goals list on Tuesday. Ovi scored twice as the Caps doused the Calgary Flames 5-4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.

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