HARRISBURG – (July 28, 2015) – Senator Vincent Hughes released the following statement in response to Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai’s recent comments on state budget negotiations:
“I am disappointed by recent comments made by Rep. Mike Turzai, who once again tried to link the issue of education funding to the privatization of our highly profitable state liquor store system. Republicans refuse to seriously address education funding or property tax relief, two of the most important issues. We know that test scores are dropping, critical educational programs are being cut, and over 20,000 public school employees have been laid off across the state. It’s unacceptable to hold our school children hostage for an ideological agenda that is a bad deal for the people of Pennsylvania. Republicans simply cannot run from the basic fact that education funding is the top priority for the people of Pennsylvania.
“It’s also a complete fantasy that there are Democratic votes in the Senate to override Governor Wolf’s veto of the phony Republican budget. Senate Democrats stand united to fight for a state budget that fully funds the needs of Pennsylvania, including public education. The Republican budget fails that test by only providing $8 million in additional funding for public schools. Frankly, the assertion that there are enough Democratic votes to override the Governor’s veto is as phony as the gimmicks in the Republican budget.
“It’s time for Republicans to come back to the negotiating table and start talking compromise. Together, we can find a path to a state budget that addresses the many needs of Pennsylvania in a way that works for the entire Commonwealth. However, that agreement must include significant new dollars for public education to win any Democratic votes. That’s not the Republican budget passed on June 30th. It’s also not a deal that holds education funding hostage for liquor privatization. We need a real budget agreement and we need it now.”
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.
Ben Waxman, Press Secretary
Office: 717-787-7112 / Cell: 215-266-4598