Rick Scott Is Coming to Take Our Jobs
Florida Gov. Rick Scott will be in Pennsylvania next week, ostensibly on a mission to steal businesses from the state and take them back to his sunny home. The odd thing is, some of Pennsylvania’s leading business and conservative organizations are cheering him on.
The Pa. Independent, a conservative website, says Pennsylvania deserves to have jobs poached because of our super-high corporate income taxes.
At 9.99 percent, Pennsylvania has the second-highest corporate tax rate in the country. Only Iowa’s 12-percent rate is higher, though corporations there can deduct federal tax liabilities from their state tax returns, lending some truth to statements that Pennsylvania has the highest corporate tax, said Scott Drenkard, an economist with the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
“It’s important to remember that if you take 9.99 percent and add it to the already uncompetitive federal system on the corporate tax, you get a rate of 44.99 percent, which is astonishing,” Drenkard said. “That is the highest rate in the world if you’re paying into Pennsylvania when you add up the federal and state corporate tax.”
Sam Denisco, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce’s vice president for government affairs, said it’s true that his state is not business-friendly, citing its “dubious” standing as the state with the highest effective corporate income tax. But he expressed surprise at Scott’s upcoming visit.
“We’re not used to other states calling our state out,” Denisco said. “This is a little more blunt than we’re used to.”
But is that right? Is Pennsylvania taxing corporations into oblivion?
Maybe not. Our corporate tax rate may be high. But not many corporations actually pay it. There are plenty of loopholes.
Check this September analysis from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. It found:
• That 84 percent of corporations in Pennsylvania pay less in taxes than a family making $35,000 a year.
• That 42 percent of Pennsylvania residents pay more than $1,000 in taxes — but just 16 percent of corporate filers pay that much.
• That over five years, Pennsylvania Power & Light and PNC Financial Services paid an annual rate of just 1 percent.
• That Cigna, Airgas, Heinz, Air Products, Allegheny Technologies paid between 1 and 2 percent during that time.
• And that two of the state’s best-known brands, Hersheys and Comcast, paid rates of 4 percent or less.
It sounds like Scott might get pushback during his visit. PennLive is urging its readers to call Scott’s office “and tell him that for every Pennsylvania job he poaches, we’re taking at least one Disney character back to Pennsylvania.”