HARRISBURG (AP) – Lawmakers in Harrisburg are kicking off budget hearings as state government faces a multibillion-dollar revenue gap, a hangover from the ongoing pandemic. Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to raise the state income tax, but structure it to shift the new burden to higher earners, took center stage at Tuesday’s hearing with Wolf’s revenue secretary, Dan Hassell. Republicans questioned whether Wolf’s income tax proposal is constitutional and whether it is wise to raise taxes. It is designed to lower taxes on lower-income households and raise them on higher-income households. Democrats countered that Wolf’s proposal can help reduce property taxes, fix the deficit, fairly fund schools, and cut taxes for lower-income workers.

DAN HASSELL