The Lancaster Republican Delegation to the House of Representatives today listened to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal before a joint session of the General Assembly where the governor proposed $2 billion in new spending over the current budget and $5 billion in new taxpayer debt.
The delegation – House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield), Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz) and Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl) – issued the following statement on Wolf’s proposed $43.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2022-23:
“This year’s budget address was similar to the governor’s budget address last year, spending more and more money for the lack of any actual new ideas on how to address the most pressing needs of Pennsylvanians. The governor is asking for a 16 percent increase in spending over last fiscal year and 2.5 times the current rate of growth. This would leave Pennsylvania and its next governor with a $800 million deficit to reckon with after Wolf leaves office.
“Gov. Wolf may see today’s address as a coronation of his time in office, but for the eighth straight year, it falls on the Legislature to rein in his calls to dramatically increase state spending.
“Our caucus has consistently supported data-driven, targeted investments to move our Commonwealth forward as we once again recognize this budget is not about the man making the requests, but about the people who will ultimately have to pay the bill.”
“We had hoped for a thoughtful recovery budget proposal that recognized the governors’ emergency orders have left our economy in shambles – many popular local stores and eateries are now gone forever, but the big box stores did just fine. Nowhere in the governor’s budget address was the need to fix our broken unemployment system or create real lasting opportunities for those who have lost their jobs.
“Constituents seeking assistance in obtaining unemployment benefits that are rightfully theirs has literally become the main issue for our district offices and most other House members. We are now going into year three since COVID-19 hit and folks have still not received their benefits.
“The governor predicates all this new spending on the notion that Pennsylvania has a massive budget surplus, but this so-called “surplus” is created by the same sleight of hand with the balance sheet that Washington D.C. has used to put our nation into a $30 trillion hole. Budgeting gimmicks are nothing new to this governor.
“This $30 trillion in outstanding debt is owed to a wide variety of creditors, including the federal government itself. According to the Treasury Department, as of January 31, $6.5 trillion of the national debt was classified as ‘intragovernmental holdings.’
“It is true that governor’s annual budget address simply outlines the chief executives’ priorities and how much funding those priorities receive. It is up to the General Assembly to now put together a budget that provides what the people of Pennsylvania are asking for – an excellent education for their children including school choice; a stable Rainy-Day fund; creating a better business climate for local business based in Pennsylvania; and fixing this administration’s failed unemployment system.”
Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner