HARRISBURG, March 4, 2015 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf for his bold and promising 2015-2016 budget proposal.

She said his willingness to push a higher minimum wage, his belief in proper education funding, his support of her idea to close the Delaware loophole, and ideas to help relieve the tax burden of Philadelphians are welcomed, overdue efforts.

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“For four years, the Republican in the governor’s office said he couldn’t afford to invest new dollars in education, couldn’t support people who need government help, and couldn’t afford to ask businesses to pay their minimum wage workers more than $7.25 an hour,” Tartaglione said. “But he could afford to protect the natural gas industry and corporate partners, and Pennsylvania has suffered because of that.”

Sen. Tartaglione said she is glad that the governor is reiterating his support of a $10.10 an hour minimum wage, as well as future minimum wage increases that are tied to a cost-of-living index.

Tartaglione has proposed Senate Bill 195 to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 by Jan. 1, 2016. Senate Bill 196 would eventually set the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular base hourly rate.

A recent study by the Keystone Research Center said an increase to $10.10 would benefit more base hourly wage earners than similar bills that would up the minimum much less (1.27 million Pennsylvanians to 404,000). It also said an increase to $10.10 would generate 6,000 new jobs; or nearly nine times more than an increase to $8.75.

Currently, a parent who works a full-time minimum-wage job and has two children is below the federal poverty line.

The Philadelphia Democrat said she is also pleased by the governor’s call to restore the $1 billion that the Corbett administration stripped from basic and higher education, and his call to finally close the Delaware loophole.

The Delaware loophole gives Pennsylvania businesses the opportunity to incorporate in Delaware so they can avoid paying PA corporate income taxes. Tartaglione’s Senate Bill 274 would close the Delaware loophole. It is awaiting action in the Senate Finance Committee.

Seventy percent of the corporations that operate in the commonwealth do not pay taxes because of the loophole, Tartaglione said. The New York Times reported that Delaware collected $860 million from absentee corporations operating in other American states in 2011, including Pennsylvania.

If the governor’s idea is accepted, closing the loophole would help the commonwealth reduce the corporate net income tax rate by 40 percent on Jan. 1 and by 50 percent over the next three years.

“Gov. Wolf’s idea to slash the CNI from 9.99 percent to 5.99 percent will more than make up for the money corporations are avoiding by formally organizing in a small post office box in Delaware,” Tartaglione said.

The senator said Pennsylvanians should accept the governor’s first budget proposal as a significant – and necessary – change in how the commonwealth governs and pays for government.

“Bad thinking and insufficient leadership got us into the sorry financial situation we are in,” she said. “We cannot accept the same approach in finding a way out. We must work on the Wolf budget and make sure it is signed into law no later than June 30.

“This is promising to be a tough battle, however, as Republicans who are in the majority in the House and Senate are already voicing their opposition,” Tartaglione said.