What Is Wolf’s Plan?
In his 2015 budget address, Gov. Wolf stated, “But if you don’t agree with my ideas, here is my request: please come with your own ideas. It’s not good enough to say no and continue with the same old same old.”
Unfortunately, Wolf has become the expert at ‘just saying no’.
Yesterday, he threatened to veto the balanced, no-tax increase budget passed by the legislature (with bipartisan support in the both the House and Senate).
This would mark Wolf’s 10th veto. If he vetoes the Fiscal Code and bills funding Penn State, Temple, Pitt, Lincoln, and University of Pennsylvania, as he has threatened, the count rises to 16.
But while Wolf is busy saying no, he doesn’t offer viable solutions.
- Wolf complains of a structural deficit, but spending $800 million more won’t fix it.
- His 2016-17 budget included a retroactive income tax hike of 11 percent so he could spend more this year. Every person would pay back taxes on income earned since January 1. This is simply never going to happen.
- It is already March 17—more than 70 percent of the fiscal year is over. There is no way to raise and collect enough taxes by June 30 to pay for Wolf’s spending wish list. To quote Wolf: “The math just doesn’t work.”
What does Wolf hope to achieve by vetoing yet another budget?
We aren’t alone in questioning Wolf’s strategy of holding schoolchildren hostage to maintain pressure for more funding. School officials are also speaking out:
- Charleroi school superintendent Ed Zelich: “We feel like we’re being held hostage.”
- Terry DeCarbo, superintendent of the Sto-Rox School District: “Our students are being held victims to this … It's time to really put the students first and make a decision.”
- Bart Rocco, superintendent of the Elizabeth Forward School District: “We continue to plea for this to be settled and move on.”
- Mark Miller, school director in the Centennial School District and president-elect of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association: “This is a plague that the governor has released on public education, and it’s not necessary. We’re all going to catch the disease.”
Even some Democratic legislators are questioning Wolf’s game plan. From Capitolwire (paywall):
“I was dissatisfied with the results of the meeting on Monday for a multitude of reasons,” said Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne. “The main reason I was dissatisfied with the meeting was I had hoped going in we would come out with a clear plan for the path forward, and in my opinion – speaking solely for myself – we didn’t have that, and that was truly discouraging to me.”
With a 10th veto looming, we agree with Wolf on one thing: It’s not good enough to just say no.