Over the course of the last several days, there has been speculation about what I intend to do with the compromise General Appropriations bill that was sent to my desk after large, bipartisan votes in both the House and the Senate.
To avoid unnecessary distractions and ensure our sole focus is on coming together to finish a revenue package that pays for the budget passed by the General Assembly, I have called this press conference to make my intentions clear.
Today, I am announcing that I will let the bipartisan budget compromise become law.
If a revenue package were already on my desk, I would have been proud to sign it. And if one is passed before midnight on Monday, I will equally proudly to sign it then. But if the General Assembly fails to pass a responsible revenue package by tomorrow evening, this bill will become law without my signature.
This budget does not include everything everyone wanted—myself included—but it does make historic investments in education, and brings us closer to restoring the cuts of the past.
This budget provides critical funding for the heroin epidemic, and it lets those who are struggling know that help is on the way.
This budget also provides critical services for our seniors and our most vulnerable—many of whom rely on these programs as a last resort.
And this budget looks out for the bottom line—only increasing spending where absolutely necessary.
As has been said by Republicans and Democrats alike, this is a budget Pennsylvania can be proud of; it puts us back on a path to fiscal responsibility and a sustainable future.
Paying for What We Spent
Now, we must pay for the promises made in the General Appropriations bill.
While there has been progress on a compromise revenue package that will sustain the investments made in the budget, the time is now to finish the job.
Republican leaders have vowed to send a $1.3 billion dollar revenue bill to my desk that pays for what the budget spends, and I take them at their word that this will happen soon.
But we should all be clear about what that means—paying for what has been appropriated must be done with sustainable, recurring and sufficient revenue.
Taking out loans, moving money from different funds or using other one-time sources of revenue will not move Pennsylvania forward.
We cannot, and we must not, make a lifetime of promises to our children, seniors, and those who are sick, and then turn around and pay for those promises with borrowed money and one-time fixes
Our children and their families must know, with certainty, that their schools and classrooms will have the resources they need to succeed in the short and long-term.
Those who are suffering from addiction, and the families who have lost a loved one, must know, with certainty, that critical resources will be available to tackle the Heroin crisis once and for all.
And our seniors must know, with certainty, that the programs they rely on will continue to be funded this year and beyond, and not cut in future years because of borrowing or one-time fixes.
Passing a Revenue Package
In the last few months, Harrisburg has proven that it can achieve big things that will have a positive impact on the lives of Pennsylvanians.
We’ve enacted historic liquor reform
We’ve legalized medical marijuana
We’ve agreed on a fair funding formula for our schools
This budget is another shining example of the effectiveness of that sort of bi-partisan cooperation—but we are not done yet.
The General Assembly has a constitutional responsibility to pass a sustainable revenue package to pay for what they want to spend, and I believe this can and should be done by the end of the day tomorrow.
Working together, we have made great progress on a good budget
Now we owe it to taxpayers, our children, seniors, and our most vulnerable to bring this across the finish line, and continue the spirit of cooperation that has made this progress possible
I believe by continuing to compromise, we can achieve that goal.
Read the press release from the announcement.
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