Gov. Tom Wolf Monday released a statement on the budget process and outlined his priorities in the push towards a final budget agreement.
Gov. Wolf understands the reality of divided government, but a final agreement must achieve the following important goals:
-- It should be a long-term solution to our budget challenges through a combination of savings, efficiencies, and closing loopholes to ensure everyone is paying their fair share.
-- It should protect his proposed investments in our schools, from Pre-K to higher education.
-- It should allow government to work more efficiently, deliver better services and generate long term savings, including the creation of the Department of Health and Human Services and the creation of the Department of Criminal Justice.
“Working with Republicans and Democrats, I am proud of our work to compromise and tackle big issues like pension reform, drug treatment, liquor reform, education funding and more,” Gov. Wolf said. “I remain hopeful that these accomplishments will create momentum for a responsible budget.
“In February, I presented a budget that closed the deficit and protected investments in schools, seniors and fighting the heroin epidemic. This proposal included more than $2 billion in cuts, savings, and efficiencies and $1 billion from a severance tax and closing loopholes, and investments in education and the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic. I believe strongly that the General Assembly can build on this proposal and compromise to achieve a responsible, long-term, final budget.”
Gov. Wolf also prefers options from his budget, including a severance tax and closing loopholes, instead of making ends meet through indiscriminate, devastating cuts to programs like job training, school safety, child care, and mental health and substance use treatment, as proposed in House Bill 218 (House Republican budget).