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Wolf Proposes Budget As Re-Election Cycle Starts

Tom Wolf budget address 2017 2
Courtesy of PCN

Governor Tom Wolf delivered his third budget address today as he begins to lay the groundwork for re-election.

This year’s budget battle will kick off 2018 messaging by the Governor as well as several prospective opponents. He took the middle ground by focusing on spending reductions and not taxes.

“In my proposed budget, there are no broad-based tax increases,” Wolf said.

Wolf highlighted things he has been doing throughout his term to streamline government, including his GO-TIME initiatives, and new efforts in this proposal itself to help close the structural deficit.  

“By identifying specific programs that could be working more efficiently – and others that are no longer working at all – this budget proposes reforms that, altogether, will save taxpayers more than $2 billion,” Wolf said.  

Two Republican Senators – one who is running for Governor and the other a prospective candidate – blasted Wolf.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre), who is mulling a bid, pointed that Wolf still called for tax increases and did not address state’s pension liability.

“It is still a budget that proposes a billion dollars plus in tax increases, and doesn’t address the main problems facing Pennsylvania,” Corman told PoliticsPA.

“Unfortunately his political base doesn’t want him to take the lead on pensions. The Governor has got to take the lead on big issues, this is the biggest issue facing Pennsylvania in generations and he wants to take a back seat approach to it. I just don’t think governors can do that,” Corman continued.  

Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) officially announced his candidacy in January. His statement suggested an underlying agreement with Wolf’s proposed spending reductions and focused criticism on the Governor’s process – as well as proposed business taxes.

“For Governor Wolf it is easier to tax people and businesses without any real plan.  Governor Wolf is a failed governor and the 2018 elections cannot come soon enough to replace him,” Wagner said in an emailed statement.  

The developing fight between Corman, Wagner and Wolf will play a significant part of the 2018 race.  

Meanwhile a third prospective gubernatorial candidate, Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana), struck a much more positive note about Wolf’s speech.

“We view this as a 180-degree turn for the governor,” Reed told PennLive. “It’s a step in the right direction and now we want to continue moving in direction with our caucus, hopefully the House Democrats, the Senate and the administration in the months ahead.”

13 Responses

  1. I’m voting Wolf next hear. He is doing the best a can since he has a Rep. House and Senate to work with. Scott Wagner will play party politics and bad for State Wake up people.

  2. Just don’t tax bond issues, casinos, poker machines, credit swaps and political hoes. The godfather says that the Brotherhood loan company needs cash and hoes gotta eat too.

  3. Isaac L – what are you smoking and will you share some? We are one of the most heavily taxed and indebted states in his country, with one of the worst economic growth records. I don’t know if you are aware but scores of thousands of Pennsylvanians are moving to other states as a result, such that we will have a net population loss in the next census. So what does our left-wing dictator Wolf do? He proposes even higher taxes and does nothing to address the pension debt, which has exploded on his watch by like 20 billion. We haven’t seen a lefty this clueless since….Carter?

  4. It seems the Governor is staking out the middle ground pretty firmly here. His opponents have the unenviable task of trying to find reasonable opposition to something that the vast majority of Pennsylvanians are going to be able to get behind.

  5. This is a BEAUTIFUL budget created by Paul Mango! Best part is new revenue enhancers, which even Jake Corman called a “good start”.

  6. To those criticizing this article: the article is obviously not meant to be a recap of the budget. Every newspaper in the state has that story.. The article is about the governor delivering a budget proposal in the context of having to seek reelection with his possible opponents in legislative leadership positions. That’s the headline and that’s what the story is about. It’s an odd dynamic that is going to impact budget politics for the next 5 months.

  7. Politics Pa is now trending as a center right news site. Governor announces budget but his opponents get more press.

  8. Jake Corman-

    “.. doesn’t address the main problems facing Pennsylvania”

    Yes. The problem that due to massive bribes by oil/gas the GOP won’t vote for a reasonable gas extraction tax (that is common in other states) to pay for education and other Pennsylvania priorities.

    The budget also needs money to hire a team of proctologists to pull your heads out of your asses.

  9. Can you just write a story about what was in the Governor’s Budget Address without spending half of it discussing the GOP primary 15 months from now?

  10. We should tax college credits earned by Scott Wagner. Oh wait. That would lead to zero dollars.

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