Pennsylvania confronts overwhelming challenges: a structural deficit; an educational system in free fall; mass business closures and widespread unemployment; and barriers to health care. No doubt, Pennsylvanians expect Harrisburg to deliver education lifelines to families, regulatory and tax relief for business owners, and improved access to care for patients. In response, this past week, Gov. Tom Wolf released his proposed 2021 budget, pledging to “make your lives better.”
Wolf’s proposals, though, couldn’t be more detrimental to Pennsylvanians coping with the COVID-19 crisis. As the state’s Independent Fiscal Office recently projected, it will take six years for employment to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and Wolf’s lockdowns. And yet, Wolf offers policy prescriptions that would only worsen our economic plight. The governor hasn’t made any effort to control overspending throughout the recession. In fact, this year marks the fourth time that his administration dramatically overspent the approved budget, which was only approved in November.
As a lame duck governor, Wolf’s latest call for tax hikes won’t go anywhere. But lawmakers have an opportunity to pursue an agenda that sensibly helps Pennsylvania’s communities and families.
The centerpiece of Wolf’s budget proposal is…