September 29, 2015

Wolf Vetoes Republican Stopgap Budget Bills, Calls On GOP Leaders To Get Serious

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday vetoed the Republican stopgap budget and called on Republican leadership to get serious about negotiating a final budget that moves the Commonwealth forward.
The stopgap budget bills include Senate Bill 1000 (Browne-R-Lehigh) General Fund Stopgap Budget Bill (summary and Senate Fiscal Note); Senate Bill 1001 (Browne-R-Lehigh) Fiscal Code Stopgap Bill (summary and Senate Fiscal Note); and amended House Bill 224 (Christiana-R -Beaver) with the Education Code Stopgap Bill (summary and Senate Fiscal Note).
Wolf released the following statement:
“Instead of seriously negotiating a final budget that funds education with a commonsense severance tax, fixes our deficit without gimmicks and provides property tax relief for middle-class families and seniors, Republican leaders passed a stopgap budget that once again sells out the people of Pennsylvania to oil and gas companies and Harrisburg special interests.
“Republican leaders are intent on Harrisburg politics as usual and embracing a failed status quo that is holding Pennsylvania back.
“Just like their sham budget in June, this stopgap budget makes it clear that Republican leaders not only want to do nothing to move the Commonwealth forward, but they are intent on taking us backwards.
“If the Republican budget became law, our deficit would balloon to $3 billion, and instead of restoring education funding, even further cuts would become necessary, and our credit rating would become junk status – that’s unacceptable.
“Throughout negotiations, I have tried hard to compromise, and recently, I offered historic reforms to the liquor and pension systems, two areas Republicans say are priorities, and in return, I have received nothing on education, a severance tax or fixing the deficit.
“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.
“Now is the time to come together to accomplish that goal – Pennsylvania cannot wait any longer.
“At every turn, Republican leaders have prevented serious negotiations because they are unwilling to take on oil and gas companies and Harrisburg special interests to make the long-term investments in education and the changes needed to help Pennsylvania families.”
          Click Here for a copy of the short veto message for each bill.
Senate Republicans React To Wolf Veto
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) released this reaction to Gov. Wolf’s veto:
“Today, Gov. Wolf again said no to vital funding for schools and community organizations. By vetoing the emergency funding plan, Governor Wolf is preventing $3 billion of state support for schools and hundreds of millions of dollars for social service agencies from immediately reaching those in need.
“We are deeply troubled that the Governor has elected to hold vital services hostage.  This does not have to happen – the money is there and our state hasn’t stopped collecting taxes. We are simply attempting to end unnecessary hardship while efforts to enact a full budget continue.  Unfortunately, the Governor refuses to see this emergency funding plan as an opportunity to keep money flowing to schools and social service agencies.
“We met or exceeded his request on 70 percent of budget items and offered to match his proposal for school funding, yet Governor Wolf still said no. It’s becoming more and more clear that for Gov. Wolf this budget impasse is about one thing – achieving a tax increase of historic proportions. With that stance, he is ignoring the will of the people. The majority of Pennsylvanians cannot afford for us to raise their income taxes and sales taxes by $4 billion.
“We have real differences. While we are greatly upset by the Governor’s latest rejection, we remain ready to talk further and ultimately pass a fiscally responsible budget for the citizens of Pennsylvania.”