Bartolotta: Wolf’s Budget is a Fantasy While Pennsylvanians Face a Hard Reality

HARRISBURG – Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s final budget address, made before the General Assembly today:

“All the increases Gov. Tom Wolf wants to enact now would become the taxpayers’ problem for years to come. As it stands, the governor’s budget would produce a $1.3 billion deficit next fiscal year, ballooning to a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27. We do not have the liberty to create a fantasy budget, which is why I do not support his appetite to tax and spend. This is also why I have sponsored the Taxpayer Protection Act, which would ensure state budgets are managed responsibly by limiting the growth of state spending to a combined rate of inflation and population growth.

“The hard-working people I represent are not fooled by the governor’s smoke and mirrors. His persistence to illegally force Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is, in reality, a new carbon tax plan. It means fewer family-sustaining energy jobs and skyrocketing costs for consumers at a time when many families struggle to afford basic necessities and to simply make ends meet. As Chair of the Labor and Industry Committee, I stand united with the numerous building trades and businesses which are opposed to the governor strongarming Pennsylvania into a carbon tax plan.

“Moreover, Gov. Wolf’s budget calls for robbing money from the Horse Race Development Trust Fund which benefits more than just our local racing community. It benefits agricultural preservation, tourism – including the fifteen community fairs that have made horse racing a key attraction for decades – and creates opportunities for small businesses. Nearly 90% of funds spent by horse owners and trainers are reinvested back into the local economy.

“Despite this budget’s disregard of our fiscal realities, I am pleased that the proposal makes an important investment in children and families. His plan allocates $1.2 million to expand access to early intervention for infants by adding postpartum depression as an eligible tracking category. This is the essence of a measure – Senate Bill 200 – which I have sponsored and have been working to advance through the Legislature. Pennsylvania already has a system to monitor children and families who are at risk. Adding postpartum depression to the list of conditions that qualify for monitoring will ensure thousands of families get access to the services they need.

“Clearly, a lot has to happen to transition from the governor’s budget proposal to one that reflects the financial challenges families across the Commonwealth are facing. However, his proposal is merely his wish list and the beginning of the process, and my colleagues in the General Assembly and I are committed to creating a realistic budget that fulfills our obligations while at the same time protecting the hardworking taxpayers of Pennsylvania.”

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463