State Budget: It’s Time to Release the Funding
9/21/2015
By Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler)

In the beginning, Pennsylvania’s state budget gridlock was unfortunate. Now, it is simply unnecessary.

The state Legislature in August offered Pennsylvania’s governor a responsible, balanced state budget compromise. The plan would have provided a historic level of funding for schools and students, released funding for rape crisis victims and others who rely on government services, and required no new or increased taxes on working Pennsylvanians.

Gov. Tom Wolf rejected it.

This is the second time Pennsylvania’s new governor has rejected a comprehensive budget agreement.

The state House and Senate worked together in June to approve a balanced, on-time state budget that would have funded the core functions of government, invested in our Commonwealth’s education system and protected taxpayers.

The governor began this months-long budget stalemate when he rejected that responsible spending plan.

Wolf continues to push for massive tax hikes on working families. He wants to raise the state income tax, which would take more money out of Pennsylvanians’ paychecks. He wants to raise the state sales tax, which would take more money out of taxpayers’ pockets when they go shopping.

He even wants to tax this newspaper. His proposal would apply Pennsylvania’s sales tax to this important source of community information.

As a sign of goodwill, the Legislature considered the governor’s massive tax hikes. The state House voted on a bill with all of his tax increases in it. The measure was unanimously defeated. Every single member of the House – Republicans and Democrats – voted against the proposal.

It is important to note, while the Commonwealth does not have a state spending plan in place, the revenues continue to flow into the state coffers.

To summarize the problem: the state has the money, the Legislature wants to release the money, but the governor has rejected every attempt to distribute the money.

By holding onto his desire for expensive tax increases, Wolf is refusing to spend money he does have because he’s focused on spending money he doesn’t have.

After he rejected two comprehensive budget proposals from the Legislature, the state House and Senate are now working on a short-term state budget. We hope the governor may be more willing to release stopgap funding for students and agencies that provide services for Pennsylvanians in need.

I urge the governor to cooperate with the Legislature to end the state budget standoff. Let’s use the resources we have to fund the programs and services Pennsylvanians deserve.

When the governor receives a new state spending bill, I urge him to sign it into law.

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845
dmassing@pahousegop.com
RepJames.com / Facebook.com/RepLeeJames
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