PA-BGT: Statewide Reactions to Governor Wolf’s Budget Address

pa-state-capitol-b175d9a07740ecf3Today, Governor Tom Wolf delivered his second annual Budget Address to the state legislature.

The following is a running tally of reaction from officials throughout the state to Gov. Wolf’s speech:

Pennsylvania Republican Party

“Listening to Governor Wolf’s rhetoric about raising taxes is like déjà vu all over again,” PA GOP Chairman Gleason said. “Tom Wolf single-handedly plunged our Commonwealth into a budget crisis when he repeatedly vetoed funding for schools and social services this year. Now, Tom Wolf just gave a budget proposal that’s filled with calls for the same massive tax hikes that got Pennsylvania into this mess in the first place. How can Tom Wolf claim he’s ‘proud’ of his actions during the ongoing budget crisis when so many families are still suffering?”

“Tom Wolf’s failure to lead has already put our Commonwealth on the wrong path. It’s time for Tom Wolf to stop acting like ‘America’s Most Liberal Governor’ and start working with Republicans to enact a fiscally responsible budgets for this year and the next.”

House Majority Leader State Rep. Dave Reed

“It is just not reality to think there is support for 15 new tax increases, including a retroactive increase in the Personal Income Tax, and just so he can spend more.

“Missing from the governor’s proposal is property tax reform, public pension reform, liquor privatization and spending accountability.

“What was even more loudly missing, though, is how the governor proposes to finish the last 13 percent of the current budget after he vetoed $6.3 billion. Before anyone asks for more taxes and more spending, shouldn’t we close out this year? Shouldn’t we finalize this year’s budget, then we can work together on the priorities for next year?

“We need to finish this year in a responsible way that meets the core functions of government and that taxpayers can actually afford.”

House Minority Leader State Rep. Frank Dermody

“The governor was as honest as he could be about where Pennsylvania stands right now and the stark choice we face over the next few months,” Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said. “Simply put, it comes down to people or politics.”

“As a legislature, are we going to be honest and transparent with the people of Pennsylvania and work together to solve the crisis we face? Or are we going to keep playing politics, ignore that crisis, and continue down the current path? Because eventually that path leads to repeating the devastating education and other cuts we’ve already experienced once, and will leave a shell of Pennsylvania for future generations.”

“We are at a crossroads and need to make a choice,” Dermody said. “House Democrats believe the clear choice is people over politics — passing budgets that are balanced for real and that restore funding for our schools; fix the deficit; protect senior citizens, working families and the middle class; and move Pennsylvania forward. It’s the only responsible choice.”

“House Democrats agree with the governor. We need to be putting people before politics to end the budget crisis, fund our schools, fix our deficit, protect our seniors, children and the middle class, and move Pennsylvania forward. Real governing is about more than just saying no. It’s about being open, honest and transparent with the taxpayers about where we are, and then taking responsibility for doing what’s necessary and right to make things better, not passing the buck year after year. Real governing is about putting people before politics.”

House Minority Whip State Rep. Mike Hanna

“Just this week, Republicans are moving a series of supplemental funding bills that promise money for corrections, hospital burn centers and child advocacy centers. Democrats support all of these things, but Republicans still haven’t explained how they are going to pay for them, or what happens when their unbalanced budget runs out of money and we can’t pay for programs that serve seniors, the disabled and children; rape crisis centers; or mental health services later on. We can;t pass budgets piecemeal by picking winners and losers or by putting some Pennsylvanians at the beginning of the line and others at the end. That might make for good politics but it doesn’t make for good governing.”

House Appropriations Ranking Member State Rep. Joe Markosek

“The budgets of the past five years have been artificially balanced using a variety of gimmicks, such as paying just 10 months out of a 12-month bill, or borrowing from one program to pay for another, or using money that won’t be available the following year. But that kind of budgeting doesn’t come without a cost, and we can no longer push those costs down the road.”

Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Spigelmyer

“The governor continues to ignore market realities in pushing for additional energy taxes that will cost even more good-paying Pennsylvania jobs in this depressed global commodity environment.”

“There couldn’t be a worse time for additional energy taxes, which will be shouldered, in large part, by Pennsylvania families, small businesses and virtually all consumers of energy, according to the Independent Fiscal Office. New taxes, coupled with duplicative and onerous regulations, will only exacerbate the difficult fiscal challenges facing the natural gas industry and the thousands of men and women whose livelihoods are dependent upon it.”

“As we have said since this administration took office, we stand ready, willing and able to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to advance common sense policies aimed at creating more Pennsylvania jobs and subsequent revenue, particularly across the manufacturing sector, by leveraging our abundant and clean-burning natural gas resources.”

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan

“With the resolution of a budget for FY 15-16 still in flux, Governor Wolf today delivered an unprecedented budget address for FY 16-17. Governor Wolf, since the launch of his campaign, has committed to being ‘a different kind of Governor,’ and the past year he has proven just that. His simple refusal to negotiate a budget on the backs of our children and workers is a testament to his fortitude, and his commitment to governing for the people he serves.”

“Today the Governor reiterated that commitment. In the absence of a budget for this year, he put forth a plan for 200 million additional dollars for basic education, and 60 million additional dollars for early childhood education. The Governor put forth this plan because he knows it is what our children need. And no amount of political posturing by those who do not wish our children success can change that.”

“It has been a tremendously frustrating–and often, as seen in the horrific explosion at F.S. Edmonds Elementary School a few weeks ago, dangerous- time to be a student, educator, or parent in Philadelphia. The prolonged budget negotiations have exacerbated that pain. The urgency of the plight of our children, families, and educators is not lost on the Governor.”

“I commend Governor Wolf for his tenacity and fortitude, and I recognize that there is much work ahead of him, and much work ahead of all of us. The PFT is committed to continuing to advocate for the schools our children deserve. In the past several months, members have written tens of thousands of letters, made calls, and have visited legislators urging them to fund our schools.”

“Today will be no different, as we will launch another letter/phone call campaign. Legislators need to hear from the people who spend every day in schools, working to provide an education for children. I ask that our elected leaders not only listen to the words of the Governor, but also to hear his words being echoed in classrooms across the Commonwealth. Listen to the educators. Listen to the parents. Listen to the students.”

State Employees International Union

“Today, the Governor laid out a clear choice – move Pennsylvania forward, or face devastating cuts to public education, human services, health care and a spike in property taxes. To SEIU members, the choice is clear. It is time to move Pennsylvania out of this budget crisis and make a long term investment in the future of the Commonwealth.

“There is a human cost to inaction. Just last month, a boiler explosion in a Philadelphia school left mechanic and SEIU member Christopher Trakimas fighting for his life. When failure to properly fund our schools has life threatening consequences, something has to change.

“We urge each and every legislator to move past the politics and the rhetoric and do what’s right for the Commonwealth. The people of Pennsylvania are counting on it.”

5 Responses

  1. Tim – if you have something pertinent to share, then share your views. Your demagoguery belongs in a blog.

  2. Democrats, all they know is how to raise taxes on the hard working people and the retirees who are living on a fixed income. He says that they are not working with him, when he vetoes the budget without looking at it. Sound like he wants to grow up like potus. You look at the states and cities that are running like they should be, are running with a Republican leader. This is going to be a long four years with Wolf in charge.

  3. Tim: I can’t help but think the budget mess is connected to competing tax increases to replace property taxes.

  4. These idiot Republicans would be nothing without their government jobs and their fat government salaries. Nowhere in the private sector would anyone hire them for the same salary, benefits and perks as they get as being part of the PA Legislature. These coddled crybabies bloviate the party line as directed by their party leaders – they are nothing more than parrots, good little robots programmed to repeat the same talking points.

    They will pay come the General Election. People in this state are sick of their bulldickey.

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