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Pennsylvania Needs a Budget, So GOP Must Compromise


Senator Vincent HughesPennsylvania has a politically divided government because there is a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature. Until that reality changes, the only way for a budget agreement to happen is for both sides to compromise.

Over the last 7 months, Governor Wolf has offered up compromises to his original budget proposal in March. The Republican controlled House and Senate have offered up no compromises.

It's time for the GOP to be reasonable and recognize that compromise on their part is necessary. Their failure to compromise is holding up funding for human service programs, schools, and other important programs.

Let them know that it’s time to end the political games, and it's time for them to compromise.

Vincent Hughes

Here are some of the ways that Governor Wolf has already compromised:

Budget Proposal Governor’s Original Plan   Compromise
Spending $31.9 billion in spending   Agreed to $300 million in cuts
Pensions No major changes to pension plan for state employees   New plan design for new state employees that includes 401(k) style component
Liquor privatization Modernize liquor system to include expanding access for consumers, but no privatization   Proposed privatization of management of state liquor system 
Marcellus Shale 5 percent severance tax on natural gas drilling   Offered to lower tax rate and put a cap on certain payments
Property Tax Relief Property tax relief would be $3.8 billion and $400 million in rent rebate assistance   Offered to reduce tax cut to only $400 million

Gov. WolfWolf: 'I can't cave' in budget fight

By Chris Palmer | October 14, 2015

HARRISBURG - The path to resolving Pennsylvania's budget stalemate remained murky Tuesday, as Gov. Wolf and a top Senate ally appeared to double down on their long-held positions, while Republicans explored if they had the votes to enact a spending plan without the governor's signature.

In a radio interview, Wolf insisted he would not back off his calls for major changes to overcome the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

"I think there's a dawning awareness that I'm not going to cave on this, I can't cave on this," he told KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, shrugging off last week's rejection of his tax plan by the Republican-controlled House. "I'm one of 12.7 million Pennsylvanians, and we've got to have our state on a sound financial basis. That's all I want."

Senator HughesHouse members went home after last week's vote, but senators reconvened on Tuesday.

Jenn Kocher, a spokeswoman for the Senate Republicans, said caucus leaders were exploring the possibility of trying to persuade enough Democrats to break rank with Wolf to pass a veto-proof spending plan - or even just a temporary budget - to provide ailing nonprofits and school districts with cash while legislators work on a permanent accord.

State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) said he did not believe Democrats would support those maneuvers. He suggested that Republicans - who have rejected Wolf's call for a tax hike - come back to the table.

"They've got to realize they're not totally in charge," Hughes said.

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Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579