HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) said he is disappointed in the Governor’s veto of a state budget that would provide more than $200 million in new resources for education without raising taxes on hardworking Pennsylvania families.
On Tuesday, the Senate and House of Representatives approved House Bill 1192 prior to the June 30th constitutional deadline. The plan also includes two historic key fundamental changes to the state’s pension and liquor systems.
“For the first time in more than 40 years, a Pennsylvania Governor has decided to veto a balanced budget bill,” said Yaw. “While the Governor portrays himself as a different kind of governor, it’s apparent he clings to the status quo. The legislature listened to the citizens of our state and privatized the liquor system. We changed the pension system which will save the taxpayers $10 billion dollars.”
The pension reform measure moves the state forward to a defined-contribution plan for new employees, removes taxpayers from the risk business and shields retirement security from political risk. Benefits already earned by current employees and benefits of current retirees are not affected by this bill. Members of the General Assembly are moved into the defined-contribution plan upon re-election. Pension costs are the number one cause of school property tax increases and cutbacks.
Notably, the budget plan rejects the Governor’s proposal to impose a severance tax on natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania. During budget floor debate, Senator Yaw pointed out that the gas industry has produced thousands of jobs without government incentives.
“The Governor’s approach, rather than change, was to levy the largest tax increase in the history of the state and then use that money to borrow additional money to fund projects like wind and solar. Wolf is the classic tax and spend retread. He is fixated on a severance tax on one of the few industries which has produced thousands of jobs over the last five years. This budget provides roughly $2 million in additional dollars for school districts across the 23rd Senate District under the new basic education funding formula approved by the legislature during the budget process.”
Some highlights of the Senate and House approved budget are:
- No new taxes or tax increases.
- $100 million in new state dollars for basic education that is combined with reforms to the basic education funding formula and improvements in accountability.
- $20 million more for special education.
- $30 million more for early education, including Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
- $300 million in savings for the state and school districts to pay for capital improvements.
- $50 million increase for higher education institutions.
- $10 million to increase home and community-based services for 1,075 individuals with intellectual disabilities – 1,000 on the waiting list and 75 from institutions.
- $27 million to expand the number of individuals served through the Home and Community-Based Services (3,750), Services to Persons with Disabilities (1,100) and Attendant Care programs (660).
Yaw added that residents across his district have strongly rejected the governor’s call for massive tax and spending hikes. “It is now up to Governor Wolf to present a realistic alternative – not the failed strategy of demanding that taxpayers send more of their hard-earned dollars to Harrisburg.”
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