I felt compelled to write this letter in order to clear up any confusion about the 2015-16 state budget, which was signed into law on Dec. 29. That’s right; we have a budget in place. Unfortunately, the governor chose to veto parts of the budget before he signed it, stripping more than $3 billion from education funding along with money for important health programs, such as cancer research and trauma centers; funding for vital agricultural services; and personnel support for correctional institutions.
The money for these areas of the budget is sitting in the state Treasury. Why he chose to hold back funding for these vital areas is questionable.
These political games need to end. We need to get down to the serious business of addressing public pension reform, which is a huge cost driver for our schools; getting government out of the business of selling liquor, which 48 other states have already done; and working together to limit government spending, by focusing on ways for government to be more efficient and cutting waste. I cannot justify or support an income tax or sales tax increase without first taking a hard look at how we can cut spending and remove waste.
The governor is set to give his next budget address Feb. 9. I am interested to hear what his next step is, and if he plans to try and hold sectors of the state hostage once again to force higher taxes on working Pennsylvanians in the 81st Legislative District.
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The writer represents the 81st District in the state House of Representatives.