“I’m holding out for what is good in the long run.”
That is the message that Governor Tom Wolf gave to people in Lackawanna County Friday about the state budget impasse that is now more than 90 days old.
The governor stopped in the Mid Valley to continue his push for a severance tax to fund public education.
The governor’s tone made it seem like he is a man on a mission.
While he acknowledged and even apologized for the hurt and pain that many schools and social service agencies are experiencing, Governor Wolf says he is now standing for a bigger and more important cause.
Governor Wolf says if democrats don’t prevail, the whole commonwealth is in trouble.
As the Mid Valley steel drum band welcomed Governor Tom Wolf to their district Friday, even the kids understand the problems associated with the state budget impasse.
“Our textbooks are outdated and our class sizes have grown which means less time for the teacher to teach us individually,” sophomore Nicholas Borgacca said.
The governor appeared defiant in saying that he will not and cannot cave to what republican lawmakers want.
“I’m holding out for what is good in the long, run,” Governor Wolf said.
The governor says he has made concessions on liquor and pension reform and has shaved $1 billion off the original budget he first proposed.
“If we don’t get this right, next year at this time, we’re going to have more pain than this state has even seen before, a $3 billion budget deficit,” Governor Wolf said.
The Mid Valley School District is already feeling pain.
It has already had to borrow more than $3 million and even had its credit rating downgraded.
“It’s getting to a point where we have to make some decisions and that’s not good for kids,” Mid Valley Superintendent Patrick Sheehan said.
For schools and social service agencies that are struggling, there appears to be no end in sight.
“To come up with a stop-gap solution that is measured in days, weeks or months is not right. It’s not fair,” State Representative Mike Carroll said.
“This is not my fault and they can say it’s not their fault. It doesn’t matter. It is our problem,” Governor Wolf said.
In a statement Friday, the GOP Communications Director says the governor is “single-handedly” keeping schools and social service agencies from getting the emergency funding they need.
The next big day in Harrisburg will be Wednesday when lawmakers are expected to vote on the governor’s full and latest tax proposal.