Senator Corman’s Political Expediency

July 08, 2015

To: Interested Parties

From: Jeff Sheridan, Press Secretary, Governor Tom Wolf

Date: July 8, 2015

Subject: Senator Corman’s Political Expediency

The refusal by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Republican leaders to accept basic math and acknowledge Pennsylvania’s massive structural budget deficit is the sole obstacle preventing budget talks from moving forward.

Pennsylvania has a significant structural budget deficit that needs to be addressed. Drastic cuts made to state education funding – cuts made by Senator Corman and Republicans – need to be restored. Unfortunately, the Republican budget crafted by Senator Corman and his Republican colleagues failed to address these gaps. The Republican budget is not balanced and would lead to a $3 billion budget deficit, while doing nothing for public education – adding less than 3 cents per student per day in education funding.

Strangely, today’s Senator Corman doesn’t agree with the Senator Corman of the past. Senator Corman’s leadership title seems to have shifted his ideals on budgeting and financial planning.

Yesterday, Senator Corman insisted that the budget impasse would continue until Governor Wolf abandoned his plan to responsibly close the structural deficit:

“I think it needs to be made very clear that this is going to be awhile as long as the governor holds on to the need for broad-based tax increases,”  Corman said as he left his early afternoon meeting. “We’re certainly at an impasse over broad-based taxes… Those broad-based tax increases are not going to be a part of the discussions, and that’s what he wants and until that issue can be resolved, we’re going to be here awhile.” [Harrisburg Patriot-News, 07/07/15]

However, last year’s Senator Corman expressed concern over the growing structural deficit under the budgets enacted by Senator Corman, Republicans, and former Governor Tom Corbett, as well as openness to raising taxes to close that deficit:

“Sooner or later, a broad-based tax increase will be necessary to pay for it,” Corman said. “Whether that’s next year or the year after that, I don’t know. But they’re increasing at a billion dollars a year and revenues aren’t keeping up.” [Associated Press, 06/28/14]

“Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, said his chamber’s Republicans would have joined Democrats to support some sort of tax increase, but that House Republicans would not have supported one.” [Associated Press, 06/28/14]

Yesterday, Senator Corman also demonstrated an unwillingness to address the budget deficit in a long-term framework:

“He wants enough revenue so he doesn’t have to worry about this for four years, and I respect that,” the Centre County Republican said… “But we’re not open to a discussion on an income tax increase. We’re not open to a discussion on a sales tax increase. We’re not open to a discussion on closing sales tax exemptions.” [Harrisburg Patriot-News, 07/07/15]

But, here is what Senator Corman said in 2009 about responsible budgeting and looking long-term:

“We just have to figure out a way to move forward. But the principle we are standing on is we cannot just worry about next year and how to balance the budget with short-term decisions. We need to make long-term decisions as well…” [Corman Floor Speech, 07/01/09]

Over the last four years, Senator Corman and the current Republican legislative team have passed back-to-back fiscally irresponsible budgets that have resulted in multi-billion dollar deficits, annual fiscal crises, and numerous credit downgrades.

It is time for Senator Corman and the Republican leaders to stop ignoring basic math and to stop pretending that their same gimmicks, irresponsible budgeting, and gaping deficits will help move Pennsylvania forward.

Governor Wolf will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania to close our deficit without gimmicks, fund our schools through a commonsense severance tax, and provide property tax relief to Pennsylvanian families.

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