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PA-BGT: Wolf Rejects Stopgap Measure With Veto

wolf-budget addressSeveral weeks after vowing to veto a short-term solution for PA’s budget crisis, Gov. Tom Wolf made good on his promise Tuesday.

“This temporary General Appropriation bill fails to provide the long-term investment in Pennsylvania’s future that this Commonwealth needs,” Wolf wrote in a statement to the PA Senate. “It is an avoidance maneuver that fails to adequately fund education and locks in the same damaging cuts to human service programs included in House Bill 1192” – which Wolf vetoed on June 30.

The State Senate and House have worked for the last few weeks to put a stopgap budget plan on Wolf’s desk knowing the bill had very little chance of getting the governor’s signature.

“Republican leaders passed a stopgap budget that once again sells out the people of Pennsylvania to oil and gas companies and Harrisburg special interests,” Wolf said. “Republican leaders are intent on Harrisburg politics as usual and embracing a failed status quo that is holding Pennsylvania back.”

It has now been just a day under three months since Wolf vetoed the GOP’s budget vision, with very little progress made since. Wolf and GOP legislators continue to negotiate – or bicker – over education funding, liquor, pensions and a natural gas severance tax.

Wolf, however, still seems optimistic about drafting a “commonsense” budget that all sides can agree to.

“Despite the political posturing and blatant obstruction by Republican leaders, I know there are rank and file Republican legislators who understand the importance of investing in education and there are rank and file Republican legislators who support a commonsense severance tax,” Wolf said.

PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason slammed the first-year governor for yet another budget veto and “applauded” Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and GOP House leaders for standing strong against “Governor No.”

“It’s shameful to watch Governor Tom Wolf single-handedly withhold funding for our schools and social services so he can try and force tax increases,” Gleason said.

Thursday will mark the start of the state’s fourth month without a budget.

18 Responses

  1. I keep reading these environmental extremist left-wing talking points from David and nothing is farther from the truth. I live in Butler County and none of the issues he raises are happening here.

    1) There is no decline in our local economy due to fracking. In fact it’s one of the few things that’s helping to sustain us during this crap national economic environment caused by the current administration.

    2) Our communities are not blighted. Once completed these wells have a very low profile and are hardly noticeable from the road. In fact, the local impact fees have funded new parks and other amenities that have improved our communities.

    3) With respect to roads, the impact fees from fracking have paid to have many of our local country roads re-paved. They have never looked better!

    4) Our farms are not polluted. I help bale hay with some local farmers to feed my wife’s horses and the yields are as good as the weather permits. Same with corn and soy bean crops.

    5) There is a well head not more than 1500ft from my property. Both my well and spring house have been tested prior to drilling and the water is just as sweet as it was before.

    6) None one is getting sick as a result of these gas wells. These are small communities, everyone talks to each other so if that was happening we’d all know about it.

    Finally, the wealth that exists in the ground under our properties belongs to us, not the state. The local taxes paid by the fracking companies belongs to us, not Harrisburg. If you folks living in your high-priced Eastern suburbs want to over spend for your schools and other services, then fund them yourselves. We contribute enough to Harrisburg through income, corporate and sales taxes.

  2. Middle Road-

    I keep hearing that the “number of jobs” created is vastly over inflated and contains a lot of jobs for non-PA residents.

    You ignore the decline in wealth, jobs, property values for the people not working these jobs as their communities are blighted, roads are torn up by trucks, traffic problems, farms polluted, loss of clean drinking water, illness, etc.

    These companies are taking wealth from the ground and NOT paying fair market value for it (by way of severance taxes that the other states DO apply for the same resources). Also, the companies are already cheating/stealing by not paying for environmental cleanup. They’ve also foisted fees they should be paying onto the landowners. I heard of a guy who got a 10-cent royalty check one time.

  3. DD – I don’t like a lot of things, but does that mean the government should tax them until they suffer? The fact is the natural gas companies provided jobs and its a resource that this Commonwealth has a lot of. Those companies while they may not fit into a Dem. environmental agenda, provide jobs in an abundance, already are taxed and provide jobs with good pay to a significant number of people. Those people in turn spend more money than they would with a lesser paying job. Just because a company makes a lot of money, doesn’t mean that they aren’t impacting the economy if they aren’t taxed to hell. Treat them like every other business. But supporting the downfall of the industry is insanely stupid. Money is money and this Commonwealth should be supporting any industry that can provide more for it’s people. Taxing shouldn’t be the first answer for everything budget related.

  4. aaron-

    The fracking industry needs to go away, but in the meantime these companies are extracting wealth from the state without paying proper royalties (nor doing sufficient cleanup). The fracking is an expensive way to extract and the drop in prices (and improvements with renewables) makes it less and less practical. But, it’s still going on and the companies are fraking in tons of money.

    The taxes will go for school funding now, but the state is still going to get stuck with the clean up bill later. If the industry was viable for 10 years the money would go for education and cleanup.

    I say shut it down if the oil companies are crying how unprofitable it is.

  5. And the state is the largest royalty owner and gets hundreds of millions every year in royalties from frackers. Go ahead and tax them out of business. The govt will go bankrupt.

  6. Diano – Chesapeake energy laid off 750 people today. The price of gas this time last year was $4 per McF- today pa companies are getting less than a buck. You are incredibly ignorant and irresponsible.

  7. The stopgap budget doesn’t handle long term funding for education and just kicks the can down the road.

    The shale extraction needs to be taxed (and at more than the modest 5% that Wolf has offered them).

  8. Wolf would likely agree not to tax textbooks and legal services if GOP would tax shale fracking, like every other State. GOP, represent the citizens, not the oil corps.

  9. Gov. Wolf at least does what he says. He said not to send him that crap or he’d veto it. Perhaps the GOP legislature is hard of hearing, as they sent the crap anyway. Not a surprise to anybody who was listening when Wolf vetoed it. Republicans need to be adults and stop throwing ideological hissy fits. Send a reasonable longterm budget and Wolf will sign it.

  10. DD, Running on not being involved in the Sandusky scandal does not give a candidate any sort of policy mandate.

  11. Amd MTG? The Polls explicitly state that a LARGE majority of Pennsylvanians want a shale tax – stop lying about what polling “seems” to suggest. You sound like Vereb!

  12. The HArrisburg Republicans have no interest in governing, only in doing what their Owners tell them to do. In this case, Big Oil owns them and WILL NOT ALLOW a shale tax – even though every other gas producing state has one – even Texas and Oklahoma! Is there a more corrupt legislature in any state? Short answer: No.

    Also, it is great to see the Ayn Rand Delusionals come out of the woodwork! Way to stay off your psych meds – shows rugged individualism!

  13. MontcoPA Dem, a “reality-based budget?” The Republicans offered as much or more than Wolf asked for on the issues covered in the stopgap, namely human service agencies. These agencies even sued Wolf for not funding them, because he is statutorily obligated to fund them. And he STILL vetoes the stopgap. What reality are you living in? While you’re at it, what reality is Wolf living in? Polling clearly suggests that Pennsylvanians do not want the BILLIONS of tax increases that Wolf wants.

  14. It is irrational to think that Tom Wolf would be governor if he had run against anyone other than Corbett. Governor Wolf’s election was a referendum against Corbett. Wolf’s tax and spend budget initiatives are illogical and do Pennsylvanians no favors. How does someone justify taxing college textbooks, room and board, funeral services, legal work, nonprescription drugs…. Does the governor legitimately believe these goods and services are affordable as is?!?!

  15. And McGinty’s successor is having no more luck than McGinty did in trying to get Republican lawmakers to submit a reality-based budget. Please don’t try to pin the failings of the state legislature on the Governor or his aides.

  16. Ben Smith-

    Her critics have also claimed that she was causing the impasse and that her leaving would break the logjam. So, you can’t have it both ways.

    The budget impasse is due to several factors:

    1) Wolf’s purposeful decision during 2014 election to have an “appeasement” strategy toward the GOP by not helping Dem St. Leg. candidates. This failed policy resulted in greater GOP control and gains, leaving Wolf short of the votes he needs, even with a few moderate R’s on his side. He never connected the GOP in the legislature who backed Corbett with Corbett to the voters.

    2) The GOP has been hijacked by the irrational extremists, who have no interest in funding education, paying pensions or taxing the drillers.

    3) Wolf has no balls beyond vetoing budgets that don’t add up. He started negotiating from a weak position, despite a mandate from the voters to clean house.

    (I’ve already passed the solution to this crisis onto him through his staff, but he doesn’t have the guts to implement it.)

  17. I wonder how McGinty is dealing with the stress of this budget impasse knowing the suffering around the state it’s causing… Oh that’s right, she quit in the middle of it to run for a higher office.

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