When Governor Wolf unveiled his $34 billion budget burden
for Pennsylvania this week, his priorities could not have
been clearer: more spending, more taxes, and a greater
burden on Pennsylvania’s families and job creators.
can’t ask my community – my neighbors and their families –
to send billions more to Harrisburg without exhausting all
of the options to fix the spending problems in Harrisburg.
Families can’t simply just raise their revenues because the
state is spending more.
The Governor is proposing devastating tax increases totaling
$4.7 billion for the upcoming fiscal year – an increase in
overall spending of 16.1 percent from Fiscal Year 2014-15.
His proposal would raise taxes by $12 billion over the next
two fiscal years – about $1,000 for every man, woman and
child in Pennsylvania. Families will pay more in personal
income taxes and sales and use taxes, which, under the Wolf
plan, increases and makes additional items taxable. Citizens
should not be asked to pay significantly more at the grocery
story to cover the excesses of government spending.
The proposed Wolf increase to the personal income tax will
cost families of four earning about $52,000 approximately
$331 a year, which is more than one week’s worth of
groceries. Combine that increase with changes to the sales
tax, and families will feel the one-two punch of this budget
directly in their pocketbooks to cover the excesses of
The Governor wants to enact permanent tax increases with the
mirage that he is cutting property taxes. Yes, his proposal
may temporarily reduce property taxes but it does nothing to
keep property taxes from going back up. Gov. Wolf completely
ignores the structural issues with the state’s pension
system – the same system that drives property taxes up.
We have a bucket that is leaking. It would be a misstep to
persist at putting water in the bucket without first
plugging the leak. We support education funding, however,
right now, two-thirds of every new dollar coming into the
state coffers goes directly to pay state pensions. The
reality is that we have to reform the pension system this
year – we have to plug the leak. We have to fix pensions
before we consider any new revenue sources for the state
Over the past four years, Pennsylvania’s economy has been on
the right track. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is at the
lowest rate in more than six years, and with the right
fiscal policies, it can go lower. We will not allow the
irresponsible budget proposed by Tom Wolf to destroy the
hard work we have done over the past several years to
develop a strong business climate and increase access to
good family sustaining jobs across Pennsylvania.
We can’t spend our way out of this. We need #Relief4PA. As
Senate Majority Leader, I will work to move forward with an
agenda that gives families and employers relief from
government. Unfortunately, the Governor presented a plan
that will give government relief from you in the form of
The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled
three weeks of public hearings
on the proposed budget, beginning March 16, and the
Governor’s budget burden that includes new spending, more
borrowing and huge tax increases will come under close
scrutiny. I anticipate drastic changes in this budget when
it comes out of the Senate.
To hear my
remarks on the governor’s proposed budget,
Penn State Thon Event Once Again a Huge Success
Congratulation to the students at Penn State University, who raised more than $13 million to fight pediatric cancer in their recent THON
Penn State student volunteers have helped to raise more than $114 million
since the organization began its relationship in 1977 with Four Diamonds
Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. THON has inspired
similar events at organizations across the United States, including high
schools and institutions of higher education, and continues to encourage
students throughout the nation to volunteer and stay involved in great
charitable causes in their communities.
The mission of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon is to conquer pediatric cancer by providing outstanding
emotional and financial support to the children, families, researchers and staff of the Four Diamonds Fund.
I encourage you to learn more about THON at