The following excerpt is from an op-ed that first appeared in PennLive on July 5th, 2024.

News flash from Harrisburg budget negotiations: Republicans and Democrats agree it is time to change Pennsylvania’s income tax. With the GOP pushing for an income tax cut while the Dems seek updated or new programs to help low-income workers, we believe there is a simple alternative both sides can agree on.  

As researchers and health policy experts, we think Pennsylvania legislators can provide a real boost to working families’ health – without breaking the budget – by adopting an effective, bipartisan solution: a new state earned income tax credit. 

Pennsylvania’s current flat income tax rate is 3.07%, which makes our state the 4th worst in the country for the tax burden of our lowest income families. Compared to the wealthiest one percent, the bottom 20% of PA taxpayers pay more than twice the share of their income in state and local taxes.

This isn’t how the Commonwealth has always operated. Fifty years ago, the General Assembly created the state’s current Tax Forgiveness Program, which reduces the state tax burden for those with the lowest earnings. But the program has not been updated in 20 years, and today, it serves too few people, with too small a benefit. Families must navigate a complex process, so the program fails to reach many families in need. 

It is time to replace it with a new tax credit. 

Read the entire op-ed here.


Aaron Richterman, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Infectious Disease, Perelman School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine

Aditi Vasan

Aditi Vasan, MD, MSHP

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine; Pediatric Hospitalist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Julia Hinckley

Julia Hinckley, JD

Director of Policy Strategy

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