HARRISBURG – Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) and other members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly today heard Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending proposals for Fiscal Year 2019-20 during his annual budget address.
The governor’s budget totals $34.1 billion, which is a $927 million increase over the current year. His plan does not include any new taxes on Pennsylvania residents, instead he called for an increase in the minimum wage and a number of fund transfers to support the additional spending. Wolf also wants to impose a severance tax on the natural gas industry, as he has unsuccessfully sought in previous years.
Heffley issued the following statement regarding the governor’s budget proposal:
“I think the governor tried to strike a tone of bipartisanship in his address. It’s a good starting point. He has an ambitious spend number, but we have to remember this is other people’s money and we want to make sure we are being responsible in how it is allocated. We don’t want to extend ourselves and have an unbalanced budget at the end of the day.
“He wants to make some investments in technical education, which I support. He also wants to continue the fight against the opioid epidemic, which is one of my top priorities. Some good proposals in both areas are included in his plan. However, we need to ensure funding is going toward programs that are proven to work.
“One major disappointment I had was the governor made no mention of the No. 1 issue in Carbon County, and that is property tax reform. We are going to look to leverage different discussions with the administration and get some relief for homeowners.
“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am looking forward to the budget hearings that will take place in the coming weeks as we develop a responsible spending plan that makes sense for all of Pennsylvania. We’re calling on the governor to work with us and get the budget done on time.”
The governor’s address is the traditional start of the budget process. Four weeks of budget hearings are scheduled to begin on Feb. 11.
Representative Doyle Heffley
Pennsylvania House of Representatives