HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) issued the following statement today after voting in favor of a $30.1 billion state budget that invests $100 million in new funding for basic education without the need for an increase in broad-based taxes or Governor Wolf’s punitive tax on the natural gas industry:
“This budget is positive proof that the Governor can sign a meaningful and balanced budget without asking taxpayers to dig deeper into their wallets to pay onerous new taxes. Earlier this year, I introduced a Constitutional amendment that would place commonsense limits on state government spending, and this budget plan falls well within the parameters of my proposal. Our first priority when considering any piece of legislation is the cost to the taxpayer compared to the benefit it provides.
“This fiscally responsible package addresses Pennsylvania’s growing pension crisis by placing new public employees, and lawmakers upon re-election, into a new retirement system more in line with the private sector. It does not change benefits for current or retired employees. Through liquor privatization, the plan also provides consumers the convenience and selection they have been demanding. Privatizing our state’s wine and spirits stores will bring in $220 million in revenues to the Commonwealth.
“It is noteworthy that the budget rejects Governor Wolf’s misguided calls for a severance tax on natural gas extraction. To suggest that natural gas companies are not paying their fair share is to deny the hundreds of millions of dollars the industry generates annually for critical infrastructure projects and statewide environmental programs through the impact fee.
“Governor Wolf has paid ample lip service to his willingness to compromise, yet he has not backed down from a single one of the numerous tax increases he proposed in March. If the governor is truly serious about creating a budget that promotes ‘Jobs That Pay,’ imposing a job killing, economy crushing tax that would chase the already shrinking drilling industry out of Pennsylvania, is clearly not the way.
“I am pleased to have cast an affirmative vote for this balanced budget which restrains government spending, allows important functions of Pennsylvania government to continue without raising taxes and positions the Commonwealth to continue to weather future economic disasters.”
CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463