As a fiscal conservative, I must express my utter disappointment with the Republican support of the 2015-2016 supplemental budget action.
Gov. Tom Wolf gets more spending for education at all levels, including a 5 percent increase for public universities. The structural deficit persists. More importantly, the bill passed without changes to the pension system, something that Sen. Jake Corman vowed would never happen.
What is most interesting is the Republican spin: “This additional funding would not require any new or increased broad-based taxes on Pennsylvania citizens …”
In short, Wolf wins by getting more spending and, contrary to Republican claims, managed to increase some taxes and fees. Republicans get to claim that the new spending can be accommodated without a broad-based tax (i.e., sales or income tax) increase.
The big loser in this battle is the state. The structural deficit will increase and the pattern of uncontrolled spending will persist.
Now the stage is set for the next big challenge — the 2016-2017 budget. Wolf will again demand tax increases and the need for yet more spending. What is the Republican counter this time? Will the party again look to liquor store sales or pension reform? Perhaps the party will go for a tax increase under the guise that increased revenue will be used to lower property taxes. Will they stand for anything?
We need Republican representatives with backbone. I urge Republicans to voice displeasure with this situation by contacting their representatives. We need a change.
Terry Kordes, Port Matilda