PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On a very cold January day, KDKA political editor Jon Delano went to Indiana, Pa., hometown of House Majority Leader Dave Reed, to see if there was any thaw in the budget stalemate between House Republicans and Governor Tom Wolf.
Delano: “When are we going to see final action on resolving the remaining part of this budget?”
Reed: “Hopefully very soon, and, look, the remaining part is not insignificant.”
It sure isn’t — one-half of the public school budget, funding for major universities like Pitt and Penn State, one-half of the corrections or jail budget, and some public medical assistance dollars all need to be approved, along with other items vetoed by Wolf.
“Some of those items, we may need to accept those cuts,” said Reed.
And while the governor may prefer one large supplemental to deal with the remaining budget items, Reed and Republicans are willing to go piecemeal.
“It’d be ideal to do it all together, but let’s not hold up money from one area of the budget while we continue to negotiate on other areas.”
But the Republican leader doesn’t seem in a hurry.
“If it’s just going to be rubber stamping higher taxes for higher spending, we’re going to be waiting a little while.”
And Reed says Wolf needs to stop harping on the old framework and so-called compromise budget that failed in December.
“The framework — it died a very slow death over two months, as first property tax reform was gone, then liquor privatization was gone, and then pension reform was gone,” Reed said. “There’s no framework left. The only thing left before Christmas was higher taxes for higher spending.”
Reed says it’s time for the governor and Democrats to sit down with them and start the talks over on the remaining funding items — like education.
“If we want to just talk about a budget, then let’s just talk about a budget,” said the Republican leader.
“We can come back and fight another day on the other issues, but we’re not going to increase taxes by billions of dollars in that process. That’s just a reality.”