At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Tom Wolf said he will not sign the latest $30 billion budget bill, nor will he veto it.
“I am going to allow the 2015-16 budget to become law without my signature,” Wolf said in a statement Wednesday. “This will allow for funding to go out to schools and other services in the short term, but we still face enormous problems that this budget does not even pretend to address.”
The bill will become law on Sunday, releasing an additional $6.6 billion in state funds. Wolf line-item vetoed a budget bill at the end of December, releasing $23.4 billion in emergency funding.
The new budget does not include any tax increases, but includes $200 million in additional education funding (half of what Wolf was looking for).
Senate Democrats spent the last week urging the Governor to reconsider his promise to veto the bill, with schools and service providers across the state struggling to stay open while funding is held up in Harrisburg.
Wolf emphasized that the budget is still $290 million out of balance – on top of a $2 billion deficit brought forward from 2014-15 – and pleaded with Legislature to make a “responsible and balanced” 2016-17 budget.
“Left unaddressed, the deficit will force cuts to schools and human services, downgrades that will cost taxpayers millions and increase property taxes for our senior citizens,” Wolf said. “We must face this reality this year and balance our budget with real, sustainable revenues.”
Wolf and the state Legislature now have just over three months to plan the next fiscal year, beginning July 1st.