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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will be the Democratic challenger for governor in 2022. Photo: AL DÍA Archives

PA Dem Gubernatorial frontrunner Josh Shapiro releases three-part tax and cost-cutting plan

The plan would eliminate the state’s “cell phone tax,” expand the property tax and rent rebate program, and refund PA’s gas tax.

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On Thursday, March 17, Attorney General and PA Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro released a plan to address rising costs and cut taxes for Pennsylvania residents as Governor. Shapiro’s plan is three-tiered and aimed at “putting money back into Pennsylvanians’ pockets.”

In an interview with the Times Leader, Shapiro said he is very aware of the struggles and worries of Pennsylvania residents, as the costs of food, gas and other necessities continue to rise.

Shapiro, 48, is the provisional Democratic candidate for governor in the May 17 primary. 

“I know Pennsylvanians are hurting right now – and I believe the Legislature should take up this plan immediately – but if they don’t, I’ll be ready on day one as Governor to bring people together and put money back in your pockets,” Shapiro said in a statement. 

A press release announcing the plan cited that during his time as chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, he was able to keep taxes among the lowest in the region, while also closing a $10 million budget gap within the first two years of taking office. 

As Attorney General, Shapiro also went after a number of corporations that swindled residents.

Shapiro’s three-part plan includes eliminating the state’s “cell phone tax,” expanding the property tax and rent rebate program, and sending a gas tax refund to Pennsylvania drivers. 

If elected Governor, Shapiro plans to sign legislation that would abolish the cell phone tax, specifically the gross receipt and sales tax on cell phone service. 

The state’s taxes on cell phone service are the seventh highest in the country, and by getting rid of them, Pennsylvanians’ will save 11% on their monthly cell phone bill. 

The state’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program is used by many senior citizens, widowed people and disabled people to help afford their current property tax or rent.

Right now, the program is only available to renters who make below $15,000 and homeowners making below $35,000, and it provides a maximum rebate of $650. Despite costs rising 43%, this program hasn’t changed since 2006. 

Shapiro intends to sign legislation expanding the program by raising the income threshold to $30,000 for renters and $50,000 for homeowners, allowing for 275,000 more residents to apply. 

Shapiro also plans to work with the PA Legislature to give Pennsylvania drivers a gas tax refund of $250 per personal passenger vehicle — up to four per household. 

It will be paid using unspent funds from the American Rescue plan.
 

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