Dwight Evans: State deficit is now $3.2 billion, may need income tax increase

State Rep. Dwight Evans and Mayor Michael Nutter

"In order to address the financial crisis we are in, clearly we need to raise revenue," Evans' spokeswoman, Johnna Pro, said yesterday. "We've talked about taxes being part of the mix; practically speaking, the [personal income tax] makes the most sense."

She said even a modest general tax increase would generate a substantial amount of guaranteed funding and that Rendell's limited-tax proposals on natural-gas extraction and tobacco sales would yield much less predictable revenue.

Rendell's proposed new taxes would produce an estimated $200 million. An increase in the 3.07 percent state income tax of 3/10 of a percentage point, for instance, would bring in $1 billion, Pro said.

No specific income-tax proposal is under consideration, she said.

House Majority Leader Rep. Todd Eachus (D., Luzerne) said yesterday that he was willing to look at an income-tax hike as one of the options on the table.

Rendell has maintained that the state could squeak by with spending cuts, federal economic-stimulus money, taking money from the Rainy Day Fund and his proposed limited taxes. He said he would consider an income-tax hike only if all other options failed.

"The governor has said all along that a broad-based tax increase is the option of last resort," Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said.

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