Wolf Was Governor ‘No’ in 2015
Wolf Was Governor ‘No’ in 2015

The state Legislature in 2015 approved two full state budgets and an emergency state funding bill. Gov. Tom Wolf signed part of one of the three into law late last month.

While he arguably did less than one-third of the work performed by the Legislature, Wolf pointed fingers at everyone else. In reality, the one constant roadblock to success has been the governor.

The House and Senate in June approved a balanced, on-time state budget. Wolf vetoed it.

The state Legislature in September approved an emergency funding bill to release dollars that were held up by the governor’s first veto. Wolf vetoed this bill.

The General Assembly again in December worked together to approve a state budget bill. Wolf signed it into law, but only after he used his authority to strip billions of dollars of funding out of the plan.

The largest chunk of funding cut by the governor would have gone to Pennsylvania schools.

With the stroke of his pen, the governor single-handedly cut more than $3 billion in funding for students across Pennsylvania. To put that in perspective, that amounts to – on average – a cut of more than $1,700 per student in the Commonwealth.

The governor’s veto was dripping with irony. When he sought the office of governor, Wolf falsely accused his predecessor of cutting $1 billion in education. In a single action, Wolf cut triple that amount for our schools.

While the governor cut funding for the education of Pennsylvania students, he did not cut funding for Pennsylvania inmates. When wielding his budget hatchet, the governor left intact an appropriation of more than $42 million to educate and train inmates in Pennsylvania’s correction system.

The governor did not limit the use of his veto pen to the state budget.

The House and Senate in 2015 also approved legislation that would have privatized Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor system. The Commonwealth would have joined the 48 other states where selling booze isn’t considered a key function of government. The governor vetoed it.

The General Assembly also passed a bill that would have reduced the rising cost of Pennsylvania’s public pension systems while securing the retirement benefits of the workers and retirees in those plans. Wolf vetoed that bill, too.

Wolf was against many things – education funding, liquor store privatization and public pension reform – in 2015. Let’s hope he finds things to support in 2016. He’s beginning to earn a reputation as “Governor No.”

By Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler)

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