Responding to Governor Wolf’s budget address today, Senate Republicans said they will continue their commitment to enacting a fiscally responsible, on-time state budget. Senate leaders said that while the proposed budget represents a solid starting point for negotiations, they raised concerns about the level of new spending and a $250 million tax increase that the governor is proposing.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25): “Today’s budget proposal by Governor Wolf provides us with a good starting point as the Legislature begins work on the 2018-2019 state budget. While we are encouraged to see that the Governor has finally joined us in opposing broad-based tax increases, there is still a great deal of work to be done. His proposed budget increases state spending at a time when we should be living within our means, just as working families across our Commonwealth are forced to do. The Governor’s cuts to health and veterans programs and drastic cuts to agriculture are immensely troubling. As budget discussions advance, we are committed to continuing our goal of balancing the budget without broad-based tax increases and excessive spending.”
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34): “The budget is a work in progress, but we are optimistic in seeing a number of shared priorities, including education funding. The Governor is asking for $1.2 billion in new spending and a $250 million tax increase that will not happen, all while making cuts to programs like cancer research that are important to people. This means that as talks begin, we are looking to find about a quarter-of-a billion dollars in efficiencies in state government. We remain hopeful that we will be able to work with the Governor to deliver a responsible, frugal, timely budget this year.”
Senate Appropriations Chair Pat Browne (R-16): “For the FY 2017-18 budget cycle, we are optimistic that revenues will finish the fiscal year ahead of projected estimates. This is certainly positive news for the Commonwealth. However, we cannot get careless when setting spending levels which continue the cycle of deficits that have recurred for the last 10 years. While the average rate of appropriations growth over the past 10 years has been 1.2 percent, the Governor has proposed a 3.7 percent increase in spending this year. As in previous years, it is the responsibility of General Assembly to take a close look at those spending levels and bring them more in line with the rate of revenue growth.”