Senate Passes Budget, Sends to Governor

Things have changed quickly in the Capitol this week. On Monday, we wrote about a potential House vote on an emergency funding bill. That plan was scrapped.

Yesterday, we talked about the reversion to a $30.8 billion budget that would require broad-based tax hikes. But that didn't happen either. 

Today, there was no vote on the $30.8 billion budget, nor is a vote coming. There simply isn't support for the the tax plan, which hasn’t even been agreed to or announced yet.

Instead, the state Senate just voted to pass HB 1460, which spends $30.26 billion, with a bipartisan 33-17 vote. Here is the roll call. This spending plan now goes to the governor’s desk.

This move means there is no broad-based tax increase vote looming. It probably means pension reform will not be part of the budget deal—though that is up to Gov. Wolf, as he would likely veto that again. 

It will now be up to the governor. Below is our statement, calling for Gov. Wolf to end the impasse and stop holding kids and nonprofits hostage to his demand for higher taxes.

End of Budget Gridlock in Wolf’s Hands
Legislature Sends State Budget to Governor’s Desk

December 23, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Today, the state legislature, with bi-partisan support, sent a$30.26 billion budget to Gov. Wolf’s desk, giving the governor the chance to end the six-month budget gridlock.

“With Christmas just two days away, only one person stands between budget gridlock and moving Pennsylvania forward, and that’s Gov. Tom Wolf,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “The budget heading to the governor’s desk delivers record-high funding for education and meets all state spending priorities without drastically increasing Pennsylvanians’ state and local tax burden. It’s time for Gov. Wolf to lay down his demand for higher taxes and pick up his pen and sign this budget.”

Gov. Wolf set off the budget impasse by vetoing a no-tax hike budget in June. Since then, he’s refused to approve emergency funding for schools and social service agencies, bringing them to the brink of closure. Instead, Wolf has continued to demand tax increases on Pennsylvania families, who already shoulder the 10th-highest state and local tax burden in the nation.

“The governor has inflicted enough pain on Pennsylvanians by dragging out this impasse for months on end,” Brouillette continued. “What better Christmas gift to give Pennsylvanians than ending the pain and passing a budget that benefits, not burdens, Pennsylvania families? We urge Gov. Wolf to sign this budget immediately.”