Senator Elder Vogel issued the following statement after Governor Wolf line-item vetoed, then signed, House Bill 1460, which currently represents a $23.4 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16, including six months of funding for schools and funding at Fiscal Year 2014-15 levels for many other programs and services.
“Today, Governor Wolf line-item vetoed several significant parts of the balanced budget that I voted for and the Legislature sent to him last week. I am disappointed that he continues to insist on massive tax increases on working Pennsylvanians to fund his expansion of the size and scope of state government even as he distorts the truth about our bipartisan budget proposal. Although I have been critical of many of Governor Wolf’s decisions in recent months, it is encouraging that today’s action on the budget will finally relieve some of the pressures our schools and social service agencies have faced in recent months as a result of his previous decisions to withhold funding.
“I believe that we can responsibly invest in our children’s future and fully fund all core areas of state government without raising income and sales taxes on working Pennsylvanians. The budget that I voted for did just that. With this veto, the Governor has made it clear that he believes Pennsylvanians do not pay enough in taxes. Apparently, having the 10th highest tax burden of all states is not enough for him. I remain firmly opposed to broad-based, punishing tax increases.
“The budget that I voted for committed a record $10.7 billion to education. It increased K-12 education by $150 million, Special Education by $30 million, Pre-K by $30 million, and added $10 million to the Education Improvement Tax Credit. Let me be clear, when Governor Wolf characterized the budget that was placed in front of him as an ‘exercise in stupidity’ and claimed that it cuts education funding by $95 million, those statements are intended to deceive.
“Governor Wolf may act like he is saving schools and non-profit organizations from financial disaster with his decision to partially fund them on an “emergency basis,” but the truth is that I voted for and the Legislature sent him emergency funding for schools and nonprofits many months ago. He vetoed that bill, forcing schools and human service agencies to take out loans to cover their expenses while he held them hostage for higher taxes. I’m relieved that they will receive funding now, but Governor Wolf is many months late on this decision, costing taxpayers and nonprofits tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments.
“I’m disappointed that Governor Wolf chose to prolong the budget impasse today. Although this plan meets many of the most pressing needs of vulnerable populations, a number of other worthwhile programs and services remain unfunded. We presented a bipartisan, responsible spending plan that increased education funding without massive, broad-based tax increases. I intend to continue to fight for my constituents that are overwhelmingly opposed to Governor Wolf’s tax-and-spend agenda. There is no doubt that much work remains in order to finalize the state budget, and I am committed to working toward that goal.”
CONTACT: Anthony Tammaro firstname.lastname@example.org