EDITORIAL: Fuzzy Math

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

In the last debate of the gubernatorial campaign Wednesday and a meeting with the Inquirer Editorial Board Thursday, Democratic nominee Tom Wolf reiterated his refusal to detail his plans for the state income tax. Indeed, Wolf’s studied vagueness on the subject has become familiar enough to be routine. But that shouldn’t make it any less troubling.

The York County businessman has proposed making the state’s constitutionally mandated flat tax progressive by exempting an unspecified amount of income and raising the rate. He says he would hold total revenues neutral and that the dividing line between those paying more and those paying less would be in the range of $70,000 to $90,000 in individual income. But Wolf maintains that he can’t be specific about any of those numbers without state fiscal data to which he isn’t privy.

Polls suggest Wolf has a substantial lead over Gov. Corbett, so political calculations may well dictate that he avoid committing to a controversial policy that might cut into his advantage. But his failure to engage in a concrete discussion of the numbers is difficult to take from a successful businessman and former state revenue secretary – much less one who claims to represent a departure from politics as usual.

Wolf has taken to saying that given the information he has, it would be “dishonest” to explain his plan in detail. On the contrary, honesty would dictate exactly that.

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