Pennsylvania House GOP Plan Doubles Down On Spending Cuts

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG (News Radio 1020 KDKA) – Without any Democratic votes, a state House committee has advanced a Republican budget plan, one that spends less than the budget offered by Gov, Tom Wolf, and does not call for tax increases.

Facing a multi-billion dollar deficit, the budget approved along party lines by the House Appropriations Committee spends $800 million less than what Gov. Wolf wants.

“A budget that doesn’t raise taxes, and makes key investments in education, is something that people throughout Pennsylvania support,” said Wolf.

Even though it maintains the increases the governor sought for basic education, it cuts the increase sought for early childhood education.

Gov. Wolf tells the “KDKA Morning News” he is pleased Republicans agree with him on spending for basic and special education, but they still have work to do.

“[The GOP] really cut my early childhood education and the $10 million I had in [the budget] for an increased focused on opioid [programs] and they’ve taken $50 million away from manufacturing…childcare for working families so there’s some things I think we need to talk about,” Wolf said.

But Wolf says he is encouraged.

“It’s a good starting point and we’re already talking which is a good thing,” he said.

Joe Markosek, of Allegheny County, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, panned the GOP spending plan.

“It cuts into the bone that many of us agreed was already bare,” said Markosek.

“We understand it’s a negotiation… a beginning, not an end,” House majority leader Dave Reed said.

Reed indicated new revenues could come from an expansion of gaming and more privatization of liquor sales.

The plan is for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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