SENECA – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) issued the following statement regarding his budget priorities after Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his annual budget address via a pre-recorded video on Wednesday:
“One of the initiatives Gov. Tom Wolf shared in this year’s budget address is his proposal to enact new taxes in the Commonwealth. First, he wants to increase the Personal Income Tax by 1.5% to generate $3 billion more for government spending. Knowing that so many Pennsylvanians are trying to get through the financial struggles they’re facing – many of which are the direct consequence of the governor’s prohibition of allowing businesses to safely operate according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines – and still wanting to collect more of their money to send to Harrisburg is downright offensive.
“With one of Gov. Wolf’s trusted experts, Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar, having made such an egregious error in failing to advertise a constitutional amendment to help sexual abuse survivors that her resignation is planned for Friday, should we really trust more of our hard-earned dollars in Harrisburg? Clearly things aren’t being managed very well.
“And yet, Gov. Wolf wants even more money. He also wants to triple the tax already being paid by the natural gas industry so he can borrow $3.5 billion. His plan is to use the additional taxes to pay the $10 billion that it will take to pay off the $3.5 billion bond fund.
“Rather than thinking of ways to further tax businesses, which will undoubtedly pass those higher fees on to customers, the governor should be thinking about the best way to protect the health of Pennsylvanians and improve the weak economy: getting the COVID-19 vaccines off shelves and into arms. That’s the real way to restore PA.
“Pennsylvania is currently ranked 40 out of all 50 states for the percentage of available vaccines administered, and yet, just last week, Gov. Wolf said at his own press conference that vaccine rollout is ‘not his job.’ My jaw dropped. What is more critical than giving the vaccine to the people who want it?
“My colleagues and I continue to call on the governor to focus on what matters, and we continue to take action in an attempt to close the gap of what people need versus what the administration is giving them. This week, we’re working on legislation that would put the National Guard in charge of vaccine distribution logistics. We need a driver at the wheel, and I’m confident that our National Guard members would do an incredible job.”
Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans