Aug. 17, 2015
There is an old expression that summarizes the current status of the Pennsylvania budget impasse: “the silence is deafening.” This is true in terms of actual, physical negotiations that could lead to a settlement of the budget, which would enable social services to continue and schools to be funded.
The problem is evident. What we have, instead, is an incessant campaign by the governor to promote tax increases that will bring about a stifling burden on our working taxpayers. This intransigent stalemate needs to end and the campaigning by the governor needs to cease immediately.
The General Assembly passed a balanced budget on deadline, which, as you now know, was vetoed out-of-hand. There was no consideration of the budgetary items that were agreed upon between our plan and the governor’s proposal. In fact, there are 401 individual line items in the state General Fund budget, and we agree on 274 of them.
Let me say that again, 274 agreed-to items out of 401! That is more than half of the battle.
Even if the governor wanted to hold his ground on the items that were not agreed upon, he could have used common sense and exercised his constitutional power of the line-item veto and enacted the remaining lines. This way, I believe negotiators could have come to the table with a work ethic to solve the remaining questions. That’s how people who want solutions solve things.
The differences between the two plans can be summed up in one word: TAXES. In particular, the governor’s proposal would raise and expand the Commonwealth’s sales tax to include hundreds of new items, including day care services for kids, nursing home care and in-home care for seniors, along with textbooks and room and board for college students. In addition, the Personal Income Tax rate would be raised, putting an even greater burden on Pennsylvania families.
These tax increases were put to a vote on the House floor, and were rejected unanimously by Republicans and Democrats 0-193.
Additionally, the governor says he wants to cut property taxes across Pennsylvania; however, according to his own plan, taxpayers in 80 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts would pay more in taxes than they would ever see in “relief.”
It is a shame that the people of Pennsylvania are being used as pawns in a partisan campaign to raise taxes. Social services and others should not be held hostage by the overwhelming desire of an administration to take more money from those who work hard to earn it. This is insulting to our residents.
I call upon the governor to wake up and realize the damage he is doing to various social services, to school districts, and to the morale of the people of the Commonwealth. In the communications I receive in my offices in Dillsburg and Harrisburg, the message is abundantly clear: Be fiscally responsible and don’t raise my taxes!
It is time for common sense and good judgment to prevail, and I will continue working to help make that happen.
Representative Mike Regan
92nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Raymond Smith