Remarks by Governor Wolf at Budget Press Conference

Governor’s Reception Room
Harrisburg, PA

TRANSCRIPT:

This budget doesn’t work

The math doesn’t work

And that’s a real problem

Because we need to keep our commonwealth working

We need to make sure our schools are funded

We need to make sure our agricultural extension services get the money they need

We need to make sure our local and county governments get the state support they need

To keep doing what we want them to do

That’s what we all we need

But this bill does not do that

HB 1801 does not add up

Once again, the math doesn’t work

The money it claims to provide

Doesn’t exist

This budget is not in balance

It has the kind of problems that have plagued past budgets

It underfunds medical assistance payments

It underfunds Corrections

It does not restore the funding for reimbursing schools for construction projects they have already undertaken

It only adds to the $2 billion deficit looming in July

It relies on prior year appropriations that supposedly were not spent

In other words the money just isn’t there

Democrats in both the Senate and the House have been working together for a fiscally sustainable budget

We have been making the point that our budgets have to balance

That’s not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea

It’s a fact

Just ask the outside ratings agencies who have downgraded our debt five times in the last five years

Just ask the people who lend money to the commonwealth at high rates of interest because our fiscal house is out of order

But all these calls to do the right thing have gone unheard here in Harrisburg

So I cannot in good conscience sign this bill

I cannot in good conscience attach my name to a budget that simply does not add up

But to allow us to move on to face budget challenges of 2016-17

I am going to allow HB1801 to become law

It means that schools will stay open through the end of this year

But unless Harrisburg changes its ways, they won’t have adequate funds for next year

It means that counties will have the money they need to make it through the rest of this fiscal year

But unless Harrisburg changes its ways, they won’t have enough for next year

It means that seniors will have the help they need in getting their prescriptions at affordable prices through the rest of this fiscal year

But unless Harrisburg changes its ways, they won’t be able to count on this for next year

So we are now confronted with the challenges of the 2016-17 Budget

And I am asking the legislature to work with me to do the right thing

Let’s build a responsible – and balanced budget

We need to get back to work to create a budget in Fiscal Year 2016-17 that actually has the money we all know we need

Let’s get to work – real work – to create that budget

Let’s do the things we all know we need to do to make sure it really adds up

Let’s not pretend anymore

We cannot afford a budget that no one believes is truly balanced

Including the ratings agencies

Including the Independent Fiscal Office

And we cannot afford a budget that doesn’t provide the things Pennsylvanians need from their government

Let’s be honest with ourselves

And with the people we serve

Let’s create a responsible budget for 2016-17


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