Speaking to the PA Press Club on Monday, Wolf highlighted the plight of many agencies that rely on state funds. The money for these service providers has dried up with state officials trying to negotiate on a 5-months-late budget.
“I want to encourage all of my colleagues here in Harrisburg to do the people’s business,” Wolf said. “Let’s get back to work, to finish the job, and reach agreement on a real budget based on the framework we announced a few weeks ago.”
Standing alongside GOP budget negotiators two weeks ago, Wolf assured reporters there would be a budget deal by Thanksgiving, though talks have seemingly broken down. The General Assembly is focusing on “distractions” that are “prolonging the process,” Wolf said.
The State Senate is considering a bill that would eliminate property taxes, a week after House Republicans passed a new proposal to privatize the state’s 601 Wine & Spirits stores – “identical” to the one Wolf vetoed in June.
“We had within our grasp a budget framework that would have been transformational,” Wolf said. “It would have done much of what so many Pennsylvanians want their government to do: show fiscal responsibility, invest in our children and our schools, produce real local property tax relief, put our public pension system on a firm financial foundation, and bring our liquor system into the 21st century.”
Wolf is laying blame at the feet of Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Dave Reed for not delivering enough GOP votes for their agreement. The first-year Democratic Governor warned his GOP colleagues not to continue stalling the process.
“Democracy requires compromise. I get that and I have compromised time and time again on liquor, on pensions, on property taxes, on rent relief and on the shale tax,” Wolf said. “But the same democracy that requires us to compromise also gives us the power to hold our elected leaders accountable. If Republicans continue to perpetuate the irresponsible and unworkable status quo, then it will the voters’ turn to hold them accountable.”
The businessman-turned-Governor also promised more reform in next year’s budget, insisting the proposed budget framework still leaves gaps: a severance tax and property tax relief.