Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal offers little to encourage growth in Pennsylvania. As President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said after the governor’s address, this budget does nothing to help Pennsylvania avoid getting stuck on the sidelines when the “wave of economic growth hits from the changes in federal tax law.”
When the layers of Governor Tom Wolf’s latest budget proposal are peeled away during the legislative budget hearings that begin next week, Pennsylvanians will see a rogues gallery of job-killing tax increases from across the decades – some defeated, some repealed – back to haunt our economy.
On Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf brazenly scolded House and Senate Republican lawmakers instead of presenting a budget proposal to an equal branch of government. The budget fiasco now consuming Harrisburg, he said, is the result of Republicans playing politics and ignoring the math. He then went on a political tirade, saying throughout the address that lawmakers were risking the welfare, and even the lives, of the elderly and children.
The problem? He’s the one whose math is wrong.
Under current Pennsylvania law, it is solely the responsibility of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to release Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (OSTC) to the approved business applicants. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is currently withholding $150 million in credits, threatening the future of schools and programs that serve our most vulnerable student populations.
There have been two major myths that have been perpetuated in the past several months. Below are the myths, and the real facts.
Myth: A billion dollars in education funding was cut by Republicans
This week, House Republicans needed just a little Democratic help to fund an array of social services, stranded by the now eight week impasse over a state spending plan. They didn’t get it.
On Monday, the House wasted no time dismissing, on a 0-193 vote, Governor Tom Wolf’s entire budget proposal, including his massive tax increase scheme.
For a moment in time, Pennsylvania was becoming more economically competitive. For three straight years, our commonwealth climbed over other states in a comparison of competitive vigor called Rich States, Poor States by the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC. (View summary HERE!) Then during 2014, we dropped hard – only two other states lost as much ground.
Tom Steyer’s money can be enormously influential. The billionaire environmental activist is the single most powerful force behind the stymieing of the Keystone XL pipeline project.