The hard truth is that Pennsylvania is in an unnecessary budget stalemate because Gov. Tom Wolf has chosen politics over governing.
The governor recently vetoed a responsible spending plan, withholding billions of dollars in undisputed state and federal funds from day care centers, nursing homes, public schools and other organizations that serve our most vulnerable citizens, putting them and those they serve at risk for no good reason.
The balanced budget vetoed by Wolf makes record investments in pre-K-12 education (more than any budget in Pennsylvania’s 239-year history), provides more money for our higher education institutions, enables the state police to hire 350 new troopers and increases funding for critical health line items.
It also makes key investments in agriculture, Pennsylvania’s No. 1 industry, all without your raising taxes.
And all told, two-thirds of the line items in the vetoed budget allocated the same or more funding than the governor requested. So why nix the plan in its entirety?
It boils down to one thing: Wolf wants to raise your taxes by $4.7 billion this year alone. That’s more than the tax increases proposed in the other 49 states combined.
I have yet to hear from one constituent who truly believes that voting for the largest tax increase in our state’s history is the right direction for Pennsylvania to take. This should be simple.
In fact, it is no different from how you manage your household budgets. You cannot spend more than you have. Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve better from their governor and should not be viewed as an endless source of money for more state government spending.
“Government that works” requires leaders that lead, not scare tactics, stalemates and political ads. Wolf promised to change Harrisburg, but unfortunately, with every day that goes by under his leadership, Harrisburg looks more and more like Washington, D.C.
A budget plan that holds the line on taxes should not be a Republican or Democrat issue, but an issue of good government and common sense.
As new budget talks continue, I remain committed to working on an agreement that meets Pennsylvania’s needs, while being accountable to the taxpayers I represent. I encourage Wolf to join me.