Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf stood with lawmakers and local officials in Erie to urge the legislature to come back to Harrisburg to complete the budget process by passing a severance tax and funding the state-related universities.
“I’m here to make clear that I am managing the budget, but the General Assembly still has work to do: fund our major state universities and pass a commonsense tax on shale,” said Governor Wolf. “The fairest and simplest solution to the current budget challenge is a severance tax on natural gas production.”
Last week, after the repeated failure of the legislature to finalize the budget deal, the governor announced that he will take steps to manage the state finances and ensure that payments can be made to schools, health and human services providers, and other governmental entities.
“The governor has a vision for Pennsylvania and that vision includes a reasonable shale tax,” said Representative Flo Fabrizio. “This is supported by the Democratic Caucus, because we know it will go a long way to eliminate the structural deficit. The budgets that the House Republicans have been suggesting have been unrealistic and lack reoccurring revenue. We’re looking forward to being back in Harrisburg next week to pass a responsible budget.”
“We are enthused that Governor Wolf is here in Erie to discuss the latest on the state budget, especially since we are facing a deficit. We need a reasonable severance tax to truly help our state overcome that deficit.” said Representative Pat Harkins. “Our gas is currently being used tax-free by other citizens in various states, while Pennsylvanians are paying taxes that help build roads and schools in states like Texas. That is upsetting to me. With us returning to Harrisburg next week we remain hopeful that somehow all sides can arrive at a positive agreement.”
The legislature has also not taken action to fund institutions of higher education including Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln universities and the PennVet School.
“Our universities and students should not suffer because some in the General Assembly can’t put partisanship aside,” continued Governor Wolf. “A severance tax gets us the recurring revenue we need and will help pay for our commitments to our state universities.”
Earlier this week, in an effort to protect school districts and other entities that rely on funding from state government, the governor announced his plan to monetize the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center through a lease-leaseback arrangement.