HARRISBURG – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) issued the following statement today in reaction to the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget proposal totaling $33.2 billion:
“It is encouraging that we start this year’s budget process on firmer financial footing than we have in previous years because members of the General Assembly have worked hard to control state government spending and avoid unnecessary tax hikes.
“However, I am concerned that Governor Wolf’s proposed severance tax on natural gas would have a negative impact on the economy in southwestern Pennsylvania. Heaping more taxes on the natural gas industry – taxes that will undoubtedly only lead to fewer jobs in local communities and fewer private dollars flowing into the state – is the wrong approach.
“These employers already pay a severance tax which is called an Impact Fee. This tax is levied in addition to the business and corporate taxes every other Pennsylvania employer currently pays. We should be doing everything we can to encourage businesses to invest in Pennsylvania and create jobs for hardworking citizens, not chasing jobs away to other states.
“Although I strongly disagree with the Governor’s approach on the severance tax issue, I am pleased to learn that his budget proposal is more modest than the multi-billion dollar tax and spending hikes of which he has advocated during his first three years in office.
“While it is reassuring that his proposal includes increases in funding for career and technical training, as well as basic education, early childhood and special education, I do have serious concerns with other important line items that were completely zeroed out. The Governor’s proposal struck vital funding for ALS support services and behavioral health support for our veterans. Several important line-items for agriculture research and education programs were also completely eliminated which support the livestock and dairy industry across the Commonwealth.
“It is clear more work remains to be done on this budget proposal over the coming weeks and months, but I am optimistic that all parties can work together to address our priorities and create a fiscally responsible funding plan this year.”
CONTACT: Katrina Anderson (717) 787-1463