Wolf Threatens to Shut Schools with
Balanced, No-Tax-Hike Budget with Record School Spending Nearing Wolf’s Desk
March 16 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—With school districts across the state facing financial collapse due to Gov. Wolf’s budget vetoes, today the state Senate passed a no-tax-increase, balanced budget that increases education spending.
With the House all but guaranteed to approve the measure, Wolf has already promised a veto.
“The governor’s rush to reject any budget that doesn’t fulfill his tax-hike wish list is astonishing,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “The balanced budget making its way through the Legislature includes record-high education spending while avoiding tax increases on working families. It’s a win for schools, a win for taxpayers, and a win for Pennsylvania.”
The $30 billion spending plan includes a $150 million increase in basic education funding over 2014-15 levels. This is $50 million more than was included in the budget the governor partially vetoed in December.
While Wolf has cited education funding among his reasons for rejecting budget after budget, his own education secretary recently debunked the governor’s “underfunding” rhetoric.
In testimonies last week (videos), Secretary Pedro Rivera said, “On average, we spend amongst the nation’s highest per pupil.” He also confirmed, “The Legislature—the General Assembly—has never voted on a reduction to education funding.”
Wolf’s demands for higher taxes have gone on long enough. We are already 260 days through the fiscal year; it’s anyone’s guess what Wolf hopes to accomplish by threatening yet another veto. Wolf can end this budget fiasco and restore the funding he’s withheld from public schools. It’s time for the governor to put the state’s well-being above his political ideology and agree to sign this budget.
Click here for more education funding analysis.
Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 to schedule an interview.
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