Lancaster County Lawmakers Hail End of Budget Impasse but Caution Pension Crisis Must be Addressed Soon
HARRISBURG – The Lancaster County Republican Delegation today expressed relief that Gov. Tom Wolf has finally allowed the 2015-16 budget to pass.
The Lancaster County Republican Delegation – State Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield) and Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl) – issued the following statement today following a press conference during which Wolf said he would allow House Bill 1801 to become law but that he will veto legislation directing how that money must be spent:
“Today Gov. Wolf announced he would allow House Bill 1801 to become law without his signature. This means that on Monday, barring any change of mind by the governor, the final funding for school districts, human service agencies, agriculture extensions, 4H and for fighting Avian Flu for the 2015-16 fiscal year will be released and that Pennsylvania now has its first budget since Wolf was sworn into office 15 months ago.
“We credit Democrats in the Legislature for coming together and helping make this budget a reality and Pennsylvanians can breathe a sigh of relief that the governor said he will finally allow legislation finalizing the 2015-16 budget to become law. What is of great concern, however, is that the governor also announced he will fully veto the fiscal code – the accompanying legislation that directs exactly how the money must be spent.
“If Wolf does veto that legislation, he will also be vetoing an extra $150 million the House and Senate are trying to provide to schools. In addition, without the fiscal code the governor will be free to spend much of the money however he wishes. For example, in December when he partially signed a budget, he also vetoed the fiscal code. That enabled Wolf to ignore the new bipartisan Basic Education Funding formula and send $50 million to Philadelphia schools while shortchanging poor school districts in Lancaster, Reading and York.
“Now that the 2015-16 budget is resolved, we must now turn our attention to the 2016-17 budget, which is due June 30, and the issues of controlling government spending and getting our pension system under control. The chief culprit driving state spending upward is the pension payment schedule included in Act 120. If we are to rein in school property taxes, this issue must be resolved as soon as possible.
Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner