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PA-BGT: Wolf, GOP Leaders Battling for “Rank-and-File” Republicans

pa-state-capitol-b175d9a07740ecf3In the three months since PA last had a budget, Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP legislative leaders have hogged the news cycle. Now it’s the “rank-and-file” Republicans time to shine.

In a Wednesday morning interview with KQV-AM in Pittsburgh, Wolf said he will continue negotiating with GOP leaders, but will try to build majority support with “good Republican legislators” who are looking to pass a serious budget.

The first-year Governor vetoed a stopgap budget proposed by the GOP on Tuesday, after Republicans in the House and Senate worked for several weeks to put it on his desk.

Republican leaders in both legislative houses have said they will put Wolf’s proposed tax increases to a final vote. While Wolf is confident he can find enough votes to force his plans through, several more weeks could be wasted if the bills fail.

House Majority Leader David Reed and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said they will encourage their “rank-and-file” members to meet with the Wolf Administration – as Wolf had asked – according to Brad Bumsted of the Tribune Review.

To pass his bills, Wolf will have to convince 18 GOP representatives and 6 GOP senators of his plans, provided every Democrat aligns with the Governor.

Wolf has proposed an increase in the personal income tax and an expansion of the state’s 6% sales tax, as well as a $1 increase on every pack of cigarettes sold in PA. Wolf has put forward plans to institute a natural gas severance tax in order to refill the state’s education coffers.

Officials estimate the tax plans will increase state revenues by $1.8 billion in the 2015-16 fiscal year and an additional $3.2 billion in 2016-17.

September 30th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Governor, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 19 Comments

19 thoughts on “PA-BGT: Wolf, GOP Leaders Battling for “Rank-and-File” Republicans”

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  9. aaron says:

    Diano will never admit he doesn’t know the first thing about how government is funded. Without the oil and gas industry the state would lose nearly a billion dollars a year in royalties and counties wold lose the impact fee money. He buys into the gas land propaganda instead of taking a responsible objective approach

  10. Neez says:

    @David Diano
    “They aren’t paying taxes, and it’s looking like they never will”

    That’s a downright lie, they pay 10% corporate income tax to the state, in addition to federal taxes. They also pay a local impact tax with millions filling county coffers. The places where drilling takes place are very rural, and the local communities are loving the millions of dollars which come directly into the municipalities budget.

    More importantly, the gas and oil industry employ over 21,000 people directly according to PA’s own reporting, no the gas industries. Up 260% from 2007 because of the increase in gas production. So i have a gripe with you saying wolf should just “shut it down”. Thousands would lose their jobs, and home heating costs will go up due to having to buy out of state production.

    But really, Wolf’s proposal will move funds away from the local communities where the drilling takes place, and shift the funding to statewide pension plans and state education funds. That’s my real gripe with wolf’s proposal. He said he’s going to set aside some money to replace the fee, but who knows how much or if he’ll follow through.

    The reality is in the long run, he’ll drive natural gas production and new well drilling out of state. Kill some jobs, and not get the funds he’s desiring. PA will have the highest effective tax rate on natural gas, that will drive drillers to look elsewhere, especially due to currently low natural gas market prices. Instead wolf’s tax should use an effective rate competitive with other states, which also delay taxes or give breaks to bring drilling into their state.

  11. CentPADem says:

    Oh wow, what fun this will be. The lemmings will have to actually cast a vote that they weren’t behind closed doors in the party caucus rooms being told how to vote – YEAH RIGHT. Which brings an important question – why are the legislative branch members allowed to go behind closed doors and not subject to the Sunshine Law?

  12. steventodd says:

    Smart move. We hear ad nauseum from the 20 (or less) General Assembly members who can singularly do anything of substance. Let’s hear from the other 95%.

    Wolf already has most of the Dems (I would guess almost all), so the 18 or whatever GOP is the goal. We pull enough moderate Rs in the very few remaining competitive districts, and we are in. The only question is are there that many remaining competitive districts in PA. I doubt it, and that will be the decider.

    Best luck, Mr Governor. Keeping fighting for the platform we elected you on.

  13. J. J. James says:

    There are hostages other than taxes. The eastern
    Part of the state has serious issues with the formula for property tax

  14. aaron says:

    Diano – funny how you completely avoided the question as to the stop gap measure and the decision of the gop floor leaders to allow a vote on wolfs budget. btw I am not a member of the tea party. I am simply a person in agreement with the majority of pa residents who believe that the governor was irresponsible in vetoing the emergency stop gap measure which would have allowed food pantries, schools and mental health clinics to stay open while both sides continued negotiating on a budget. instead you rant about the evil frackers. sad and pathetic. Im sure those blue collar workers in the energy industry are really feeling the love right now from our great governor.

  15. David Diano says:

    Neez-

    1) They aren’t paying taxes, and it’s not looking like they will.
    2) They are destroying the environment (and have been covering it up for years, aided and abetted by Corbett’s oil/gas industry shills in the DEP and Health Dept looking the other way).

    So, Wolf has zero incentive to keep them going (other than the lies whispered in his ears about “safe” fracking” and inflated job numbers).

    But, none of that should be allowed to supersede public safety. So, Wolf should accept they aren’t going to let their GOP puppets vote for a tax, and shut the industry down. New York blocked fracking completely BECAUSE of what they found in Pennsylvania. Wolf needs to find some other sources of revenue like raise the state income taxes or cutting wasteful spending like charter schools (especially cyber-charters).

    Agreeing with a tea-party loon like Aaron doesn’t help you.

    You are right that often get elected on promises of no new taxes, but they are also being elected to run the government. At that entails an obiligation to provide service in a RESPONSIBLE manner, and not with budget tricks that kick the can down the road.

  16. CentPADem says:

    “Republican…. Leaders….” Good one politicspa. My gut is hurting from laughing at that one. Thanks for brightening up my day!

  17. Neez says:

    @ David Diano
    That’s stupid, shutting down natural gas production is literally counter productive to everything and helps no one. Wolf needs them to pax more taxes to fill his budget, not shut them down, destroy jobs, and raise home heating costs.

    @Aaron
    You’re right, it’s really irresponsible for Wolf to not pass the stop gap budget. I guess if he thinks Obama can do it and blame it on the GOP, then he’s going to do it too. The problem is, local media is less biased than national media. So they’re not as inclined to help further the notion that’s it’s the GOP’s fault.

    Reality is, it’s always been hard to get the GOP to help with any TAX increase. Most of their base votes for them specifically because they are less likely to increase taxes. So calling them rank-and-file in this regard is stupid, and simply using labels to demonize.

  18. aaron says:

    Diano – what’s the point for the gop floor leaders to agree with wolf whenever they don’t have the votes behind them to get his budget passed. I say give the governor a week to lobby for his tax increases and put it to a vote. If it gets voted down, then obviously he doesn’t have the support he claims to have. The votes are not there, period plain and simple. And btw – he could have signed the emergency stop gap while negotiations were ongoing to avoid food pantries and mental health clinics from shutting down. If you’re a gop floor leader and your caucus will not support the governors proposal, I would think that the responsible thing to do would be to at least fund vital services until an agreement could be reached, which is what they did. How is it the fault of the gop leadership – the rank and file doesn’t support it even if the leaders did. Democrats always talk about how they are for the little guy – looking out for the poor, middle class and most vulnerable. Horseshit. They simply use those people to play politics. No excuse for it.

    And fyi, you have no clue what you are talking about when it comes to the energy industry. Lets lay off the engineers and coal miners. I’m sure the unions will love that. idiot.

  19. David Diano says:

    Unless he has pictures of them in a hotel room with a dead hooker as leverage, this is going to be a heavy lift.

    The problem is the GOP leaders. You will never convince them. Instead, you have to find away to reach out to their puppet masters and get these puppet masters by the balls, and have them give the GOP leadership new instructions.

    I’d start with empowering the DEP and Health Departments do their jobs and aggressively inspect fracking sites, ground water complaints, etc. and start shutting down the operations not in compliance.

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