As the heated discussion surrounding Gov. Tom Wolf’s beleaguered budget battle continued, three Pennsylvania lawmakers spoke up on Wednesday to refine the issues, delineate facts and clarify priorities for all constituents,
State Reps. Judy Ward (R-80) and John D. McGinnis (R-79), and Sen. John H. Eicrhelberger, Jr. (R-30) created a timeline summarizing the year’s legislative events concerning the governor’s budget, beginning with his initial March 3 presentation to a joint House session, leading up to the Senate’s recent attempt to pass emergency funding procedure SB 1000, which Wolf vetoed on Tuesday.
The legislators summarized each step of the budget impasse between March and September. First, the House unanimously voted down the governor’s budget on June 1. On June 30, an on-time budget passed bi-camerally to address pension reform without tax raises, was immediately vetoed by Wolf.
After working through the summer, House and Senate leaders offered Wolf concessions, with funding for education accompanied by a request for liquor privatization and pension reform—again, refused. The House voted to override the governor’s veto on Aug. 25, but gained no Democratic support, the lawmakers noted.
Finally, Wolf vetoed SB 1000.
“Mr. Wolf has clearly adopted a policy of holding all education and social services funding, and much else, as hostages for his desire to get his way, in full, and without compromise," the legislators said in a statement. "Simply put, he has shown no interest in bargaining in good faith. His callous behavior is unnecessary, unacceptable, and unbefitting the citizens of the commonwealth.
The lawmakers then called on Wolf to offer a more realistic budget solution.
“As your local legislators, we urge the governor to reconsider his dismissal of emergency funding needed by so many Pennsylvanians and ask that he come to the budget table with realistic funding requests that will help all Pennsylvanians prosper, not just his special interest supporters," the statement read.
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