HARRISBURG, June 30th, 2015 − Senator Vincent Hughes released the following statement on the Republican legislative priorities, including state budget, liquor privatization, and pension overhaul:
“I am deeply disappointed with the actions of my Republican colleagues in the General Assembly. Tonight, the majority party in both chambers decided to ignore the will of the votes and pursue an ideological agenda that moves Pennsylvania in the wrong direction. The people of our state were clear in the last election: They want more funding for education, property tax relief, and investment in proven strategies to create jobs in our Commonwealth.
“However, that is not path chosen by either Senate or House Republicans. Instead, they passed a budget proposal that increases education funding in our classrooms by just $8 million. That’s less than $4.00 for every child in Pennsylvania. Clearly, that’s not enough to reverse the devastating impact of former Governor Corbett’s $1 billion cut to education Part of the reason there is so little funding is because the Republicans refused to pass a responsible severance tax on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
“The same budget also fails to adequately fund higher education, social services, and job creation initiatives. It is built on a fiscal house of cards riddled with gimmicks and one-time revenue that would lead to a $3 billion deficit over the next two years and undermine our Commonwealth’s financial stability.
“Finally, the Republicans decided to ram through two extremely misguided pieces of legislation on liquor privatization and pensions. The vote to privatize the liquor system will cost 4,700 middle class jobs and eliminate an income producing asset that has generated billions for the state. The pension bill saves no money in the current fiscal year and has not been fully vetted to determine the financial impact. It is simply unconscionable that the Republican majorities are rushing such far-reaching and consequential bills without adequate deliberation.”
Senator Vincent Hughes represents the 7th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is also the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.