Governor’s Veto Threat Leaves State Budget Unresolved
HARRISBURG – Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) said members of the General Assembly worked hard to pass a balanced, no-tax increase budget for the citizens of Pennsylvania that funds the core functions of state government and provides record levels of education funding, yet Gov. Tom Wolf said he will not sign it. Wolf has vetoed the entire budget – the first time a governor has dismissed a budget outright since the mid-1970s.

“The governor missed an opportunity to lead,” said Moul. “He is essentially telling us to start over. However, the budget sent to the governor was on time, balanced and sustainable, in contrast with budget proposed by the governor that would increase the state sales tax by 40 percent and expand it to include about 300 more items not presently taxed. The governor’s plan would also increase the income tax by 21 percent, further impacting one’s ability to pay for the massive tax increases he is proposing. The citizens of my legislative district have an aversion to taxes and this governor’s tax plan comes with a $12 billion price tag over two years.

The House budget plan would increase education funding by $500 million, to a record $11 billion, adding $300 million for school construction reimbursements, $100 million for basic education (K-12), $25 million more for Pre-K Counts and $20 million more for special education. It would also provide an additional $5 million each for Head Start and the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, and higher education would receive $41 million more.

“Those who still believe we don’t spend enough for education should know that Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation in the amount of money it spends per pupil to educate our children,” said Moul. “In fact, a full 41 percent of our annual state budget is spent on education. Teacher salaries are also among the highest in the country. In Pennsylvania, the average teacher salary is more than $10,000 above the national average.

“This was an opportunity for the governor to lead by giving the people an on-time, no tax hike budget, but he failed to deliver,” said Moul. “I hope people will carefully examine the governor’s spending plan and consider the implications of the taxes he is proposing.”

In addition to the budget, the General Assembly passed two other major pieces of legislation – liquor privatization and public pension reform, which were both vetoed by the governor. The pension reform package aims to reverse Pennsylvania’s $53 billion unfunded liability in the State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System.

Senate Bill 1 would place new employees into a hybrid 401(K)-style and cash balance plan,” said Moul. “State legislators would also come under the new retirement plan following election or re-election, and existing employees would remain in the current defined benefit program.”

Finally, House Bill 466 would divest Pennsylvania of a wholesale and retail liquor system that has been in place for more than 80 years. The fate of those two bills is uncertain.

Representative Dan Moul
91st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham
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