School districts have borrowed $346 million—and taxpayers will pay to pay up to $11 million in interest payments—as a result of Gov. Wolf’s budget vetoes, according to a report from Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
DePasquale noted that this borrowing is due to the lack of tax dollars flowing out of Harrisburg—despite the fact the state is certainly still taking money from taxpayers.
At the press conference announcing these findings, Sen. Scott Wagner stood up to say he’s tired of taking blame for Gov. Wolf’s actions. That is, the House and Senate passed a budget—and subsequently passed a temporary funding plan—but Gov. Wolf’s vetoes denied funding for schools and social services.
Sen. Wagner is right. The only person to blame for schools having to borrow money is Gov. Tom Wolf, who vetoed the original budget in its entirety—rather than using the line-item veto as previous governors have done—and the temporary stop-gap measure.
Wolf says his vetoes are about education funding, but are they really?
Education spending is already at an all-time high, while Pennsylvania ranks among the highest spending states. The Republican-passed budget would have increased aid to public schools by another $350 million (and $1.4 billion more than four years ago).
Republicans even offered Gov. Wolf $300 million above that total.
Gov. Wolf thinks that’s not enough, and continues to cling to his demand for higher taxes on working families.
But there can be no doubt, Wolf is the only reason schools are struggling to make payroll.