– Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) issued the following statement regarding his budget priorities as Gov. Tom Wolf prepares to deliver his annual budget address on Tuesday:
“The governor has repeatedly called for a minimum wage increase, noting his desire to help hardworking Pennsylvanians. My colleagues and I share that desire but believe that it would be far better to move people from minimum wage jobs to family-sustaining careers, especially since Wolf’s call to raise the wage to $15 an hour would put 34,000 Pennsylvanians out of work.
“We are not willing to hurt Pennsylvanians by killing their jobs to give a raise to others. Instead, we want everyone to have access to the American Dream through job training and education. There are thousands of job openings that offer lucrative careers with little or even on-the-job training. People who want to work hard deserve to make more than minimum wage can ever realistically offer.
“I do not support a severance tax because of what it would mean for customers. Commonwealth residents would end up paying more because the natural gas companies would inevitably pass the tax on to them. Rather than trying to take more money from taxpayers, we should be focusing on keeping money in their pockets.
“In that vein, we have to limit spending in certain areas so we can dedicate funding to our most important priorities. School safety is paramount and needs our continued support.
“As we consider school funding, we must remember that it’s already at an all-time high. Without passing tax increases or making deep cuts to other programs and services, it’s not possible to significantly increase funding for a line item that receives 37% of the entire state budget.
“When the governor delivers his budget address, I hope he remembers that it can’t be a wish list that includes everything he wants. Real people, like the men and women of the 64th District, will have to foot the bill.”
Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans