Democrats invite tax foes to bash Rendell plan

Gov. Rendell's attempt to spread Pennsylvania's tax burden around by cutting the sales tax to 4 percent, and add it to dozens of services and products not currently taxed, has raised the predictable outrage from professionals who don't want to pay.

Sens. Mike Stack and Sen. Larry Farnese, both Philadelphia Democrats, are rallying the aggrieved bankers, lawyers, real estate agents and accountants at Independence Visitor Center today at 11:30 for an open meeting to complain about the awful things they say Rendell's tax would do. They've already sent a letter urging Rendell to back off as the yearly Harrisburg budget war heats up.

"We cannot afford to tax business any further," Farnese spokeswoman Cathie Abookire told me. Okay, but why  middle of the working day? "It's for companies that have somebody to send," she said.

Among the people the senators have invited to speak: Philadelphia Bar Association chancellor Scott Cooper; Polonia Bank boss Anthony J. Szuzczewicz; Beneficial Bank retail lending boss Denise Kassekert; PNC Bank's top man in Philadelphia, Bill Mills; his top business lender, Salvatore Patti; accountant James N. Newhard, CPA; Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors President Curt Gasper, and real estate agents Kristen Foot and Jack Malloy; Delaware Valley Healthcaer Council executive Ken Braithwaite; and lobbyist A.J. Marsico, for the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association.

And a lone businessman, Tony Walter Jr., of Lore's Chocolates in Old City. "They'll have to pay higher taxes on everything from wrappers to air conditioning," Abookire said. "We can't keep businesses here, we can't bring more businesses to Pennsylvania by raising taxes."