Governor Tom Wolf Vetoes Budget that Fails to Address Pennsylvania’s Most Pressing Issues

June 30, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf tonight vetoed the Republican budget that fails to address the core issues facing Pennsylvania, including a structural budget deficit, a drastically underfunded school system, and rising property taxes for seniors and middle-class families. The Republican budget is unbalanced and built on one-time revenues that lead to a $3 billion deficit.

“The citizens of Pennsylvania sent us here to do serious work and to address the problems facing this commonwealth,” Governor Wolf said. “This includes enacting a budget that contains fair and adequate education funding in part by implementing a commonsense severance tax, providing property tax relief to Pennsylvania families and seniors, fixing the structural deficit, and providing a sound plan to create jobs across this commonwealth. This budget does not accomplish these essential tasks, so I cannot, in good faith, give it my approval.”

Governor Wolf emphasized that he remains committed to working with Republicans to come to a negotiated solution. But he reiterated that he will not accept a budget that completely ignores key issues that he set out in his budget address, including adequately funding our schools with a commonsense severance tax, reducing property taxes, eliminating the structural deficit, and creating jobs in Pennsylvania.

“Throughout this process, I have strived to work with Republicans. I have made concessions and I have kept an open mind,” Governor Wolf said. “In return, Republicans have simply said no to my plan that will get Pennsylvania back on track, fix our schools, provide property tax relief, and address our structural deficit. In fact, when asked what their counteroffer to my commonsense severance tax proposal was, Republican leaders said, “Nothing, yeah nothing.” That is completely unacceptable. It is not how to negotiate in good faith. This is why the people of the commonwealth have lost confidence in their government.

“In business, I never saw negotiations approached in such a manner. Pennsylvanians deserve better and now is the time for us to get to work. It’s time to stop playing games.”

In addition to its failure to address the priorities shared by a majority of Pennsylvanians and the governor, the Republican budget simply does not add up. The Republican budget relies on $1.5 billion in gimmicks and one-time fixes and would lead to a $3 billion dollar deficit. Instead of responsibly addressing Pennsylvania’s structural deficit, this plan is filled with smoke and mirrors like budgets of the past four years that have resulted in serial credit downgrades.

In the midst of serious cuts to school funding at the state level over the past four years, Pennsylvanians have seen struggling schools and higher property taxes. The Republican budget fails to address either of these pressing issues with no property tax relief and a meager $8 million net increase going to the classroom, less than 2% of the $500 million needed to restore the damaging cuts of the past four years.

It’s time to end the games and gimmicks. We cannot stand for the status quo any longer. Governor Wolf will fight for the people of Pennsylvania who elected him governor to move our commonwealth forward.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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