Tax Relief Needed Now for Pennsylvania Families Hurt by Inflation | By State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh)

When I introduced the Pennsylvania Families Tax Relief package a year ago, inflation was out of control due to the bad policy decisions of the federal government. Inflation may have slowed since it peaked in mid-2022, but higher costs are still a major concern for many families who find themselves living paycheck to paycheck. My proposals remain just as relevant today as they were in April 2023.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, prices have surged 20.4% since February 2020, just before the pandemic, which means Americans would need over $1,200 now to buy the same goods and services that originally cost $1,000. My bill package would help to offset some of those increased costs for many Pennsylvania families who are currently struggling to make ends meet.

My tax relief proposals include:

  • House Bill 160, which would provide several permanent exemptions from the Sales and Use Tax (SUT), including children’s and library books, toys, cribs and strollers, and youth sports equipment.
  • House Bill 161, which would provide tax holidays to help reduce burdens when families are making improvements to their homes or getting ready to send their children back to school through temporary relief from the SUT.
  • House Bill 162, which would provide a permanent exemption from the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) levied on electric bills.
  • House Bill 163, which would provide a permanent exemption from the SUT levied on pet food.
  • House Bill 164, which would provide a permanent exemption from the SUT and GRT levied on cell phone bills.
  • House Bill 165, which would increase funding for the homestead/farmstead exclusion by redirecting all revenue generated from gaming that is designated for the General Fund to be used for the exclusion program.
  • House Bill 166, which would reduce the Personal Income Tax (PIT) from 3.07% to 2.99% over a two-year period.
  • House Bill 167, which would provide a permanent exclusion to volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel from the SUT for protective equipment purchases.
  • House Bill 168, which would reduce the Inheritance Tax for direct descendants and siblings from the current 4.5% and 12% to align with the PIT.
  • House Bill 169, which would increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to match the federal credit of up to $3,000 for one qualifying individual and $6,000 for two or more qualifying individuals.

I was pleased that the last proposal, regarding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, was included in the 2023-24 Fiscal Code finalized last December. The enhanced tax credit is great news for more than 200,000 families across the Commonwealth who started realizing the savings in tax year 2023.

Unfortunately, the nine other proposals remain stalled in the House Finance and Gaming Oversight committees, which are controlled by the Democrat majority.

These proposed changes in state taxes would have a real impact for Pennsylvania families by bringing down the cost of certain necessities, leaving more money in their paychecks, and lessening the high burden they face when opening their tax bills.

Reducing state taxes to allow people to keep more money in their pockets would be a win for all Pennsylvanians and a way to help them deal with the higher prices all of us are currently experiencing.