#PAGov: PA GOP Uses Shitty Math to Show How Tom Wolf Raised Sales Tax by “17 Percent”


The Pennsylvania GOP is attacking Tom Wolf for supporting a 1 percent sales tax increase while he was the Revenue Secretary under Ed Rendell.  Their lie de jour claim goes as this:

As Ed Rendell’s chief tax collector, Tom Wolf tried to raise our sales tax by nearly 17%

and the source they cite, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, reads:

Mr. Rendell has proposed raising the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent in most counties, but from 7 percent to 8 percent in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties. If the Legislature approves the move by June 30, it would raise an additional $1.3 billion in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

 So where does this “17%” tax increase come from?  It comes from the simple “percent change” formula:

6 percent – 7 percent / 6 percent x 100 = 16.666

This is a ludicrous use of skewing the numbers by the PA GOP.

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About Sean Kitchen 626 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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  • Scott E Phillips

    1. 1 is 16.667% of six and properly rounded 17% is accurate.
    2. Your equation is wrong. The correct answer is -110.667%
    3. Even if we do it as I think you intended and ignore the order of operations rules, you would still get -16.667%.

    • Sean Kitchen

      Thanks,math major…
      as for your answer to #3, all values using a % change are always absolute. 7-6 = 1. Try that.

    • Sean Kitchen

      2) “raise our sales tax by 17%,”
      no they went up by 1%. If the sales tax was to go up by 17% it would be a 23%. The PA GOP is using a formula that measures the percent change in values not the actual numerical difference. I was a science major and used this formula my whole entire college career…