Tag Archives: Pennsylvania budget

Gov. Wolf on House Republicans: ‘I’m not going to play their games anymore’

by Angela Couloumbis & Liz Navratil, philly.com, 10/4/17

HARRISBURG — Saying he was fed up with the inability of House Republicans to finish work on balancing the Pennsylvania budget, Gov. Wolf on Wednesday said that he will borrow more than $1 billion against the state’s liquor revenues.

“Too many Republicans in the legislature are focused on the 2018 elections — they’d rather see me fail than Pennsylvania succeed,” the Democratic governor said at a news conference in the Capitol. “I’m not going to play their games anymore.”

The shift in tone raised the prospect of a long fall of recriminations and increasing anxiety for schools, local governments, and others who depend on state funds.

Wolf said the House should immediately pass an extraction tax on natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale — a measure he believes will help end the state’s more than three-month-long budget stalemate. GOP leaders’ refusal to consider a shale tax shows that they are beholden to special interests, the governor said….

keep reading at philly.com

CHAIRMAN GROEN, COMMISSIONER ELLIS-MARSEGLIA SAY HOUSE GOP BUDGET PUTS PA IN DANGER; HURTS VETERANS, FAMILIES, SENIORS

press release, Pennsylvania Democratic Party, 5/12/17

BUCKS COUNTY — Today, Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman Marcel Groen and Bucks County Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia held a press conference to outline how the House Republican budget would put Pennsylvanians in danger, hurt our veterans and seniors, hamper the state’s ability to root out welfare fraud, and make it harder to fight the heroin crisis ravaging our communities.

“The House Republican budget will take Pennsylvania backwards by cutting services that keep Pennsylvanians safe,” said Chairman Groen. “These cuts are not just careless, they are dangerous.”

The House Republican budget would:

– Put more sexual predators on our streets

– Gut law enforcement programs that keep our citizens safe.

– Prevent people from receiving help after being raped or sexually assaulted.

– Slash funding for programs that protect our seniors.

– Cuts important services and programs for veterans.

– Prevent the state’s ability to root out fraud and waste in our welfare system.

– Strip resources from first responders and law enforcement’s ability to respond to the heroin and opioid crisis.

– Slash personnel that would slow the state’s ability to grant permits to oil and gas companies

“The Republican budget would be devastating to Bucks county,” said Commissioner Marseglia. “If these cuts go into effect, we would have to lay off dozens of staff, our courts would have to discontinue special programs, and we would lose capacity to help people who are suffering from the disease of addiction. These cuts are wrong and would be an absolute blow to our county.”

Property tax reform suggestion

Letter, Daily Local News, 7/29/16

Every election cycle legislators trot out statements that they are going to do something about property taxes, and as sure as spring follows winter, nothing gets done and that issue gets put away until the next election season. It’s time to stop paying lip service to we, the taxpayers, and do something. I’ve been paying property taxes for 28 years, so I understand the struggles that families face. I believe that in order to reduce property taxes, we must change the way Harrisburg functions.

The Legislature is required by the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide for quality public education for all students. Instead, over the years Harrisburg has shirked its responsibility by not paying their fair share to the schools, which forced our local school boards to raise our taxes. It’s time to make sure that Harrisburg does what they are constitutionally required to do.

There are ways to address this issue. One way is to end corporate welfare and close the loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share to the tax base. Did you know that Pennsylvania gives out $700 million in corporate welfare every year? That’s the most of any state in the nation and now they want to increase that by another $10 million. The Commonwealth Foundation states “By ending government favoritism and moving toward a tax system devoid of special treatment for moneyed interests, lawmakers can improve the state’s business climate and create opportunities that will lead to better lives for all Pennsylvanians.” That makes sense to me. I believe that we need to do a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate all corporate tax breaks and then eliminate any corporate tax break that does not significantly and positively impact taxpayers. It won’t be simple or easy, there are a lot of moving parts but we must do something. Before Harrisburg raises taxes on people, how about we make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.

Susan Rzucidlo
Candidate for the PA House, 158th District

Policy failures fuel Pa. budget impasse / legislative redistricting

excerpt from Berwood A. Yost, “Policy failures fuel Pa. budget impasse,” philly.com, as updated March 16, 2016 [This excerpt describes the 3rd of “three state policy failures” that the writer holds responsible for the ongoing budget impasse in Harrisburg. These three are ” the failure to find the reliable funding sources that state government needs to operate, the failure to reduce the spending growth that existing laws require, and the failure to support reforms that make elections more competitive.”]

By Berwood A. Yost

…The state’s legislative redistricting process has helped change our politics from compromise to confrontation because it has created legislative districts that are rarely competitive during general elections.

The 2014 state Senate election shows how uncompetitive the state’s general elections have become: Out of 25 state Senate contests in 2014, nine were uncontested, and the winners of 14 races received more than 55 percent of the vote. These are landslide wins.

Noncompetitive general elections mean that legislative change takes place in primary elections. Primary challengers are more likely to have strong ideological and partisan priorities that affirm confrontation and ideological purity, not compromise. Lawmakers’ concerns about primary challenges can eliminate the incentive to compromise.

The budget is state government’s most important work product. Laws aren’t enforced and programs cannot function when they aren’t funded.

Our budget mess makes clear the price we pay for our broken electoral system. It’s not a price we can afford much longer.

read the full article at philly.com