HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY, (WBRE/WYOU-TV) No increases in the state’s income tax — or sales tax. That’s the message that Governor Tom Wolf sent to state lawmakers today — as he unveiled his proposed 2018-2019 spending plan. Eyewitness News Reporter Eric Deabill was in Harrisburg as the budget was unveiled. Here are some of the highlights.
In a room where it’s tough to get lawmakers to agree on anything Governor Tom Wolf got a standing ovation Tuesday as he donned an “Eagles” hat.
Then — it was down to business — focusing on finances.
“Businesses don’t invest in states that don’t invest in education, infrastructure or job training. We’re doing all of these things”
From asking for an additional 225-million dollars for basic education — pre-k funding — and a new initiative focused on career and technical education — many local lawmakers called the budget proposal a “safe bet.”
“I think this emphasis on education is right on point” Said State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, (D) Luzerne County
Republicans pounced on a lack of details.
Senator Mario Scavello was upset about a possible 9 million dollar cut to tourism advertising.
“History teaches us for every dollar spent — we get $5 back and a $9 million cut? Especially in my market — we’re a big tourist area!” Said Senator Scavello.
The Governor is once again pushing for a severance tax on natural gas drilling — and a 25-dollar per person fee for communities that rely on state police coverage.
“That’s something i’m willing to look at. The devil is in the details on that” said Senator David Argall, (R) Schuylkill County.
“It’s our turn to make the tough decisions with courage and conviction” noted Governor Wolf.
While also planning to invest millions more to fight the opioid epidemic — some lawmakers say the governor’s proposal isn’t enough.
“I think we need a broader approach across the board. We need a lot of education about it!” said Senator Gene Yaw, (R) Lycoming/Bradford Counties.
With this being an election year for the governor — the big question is — can the budget be passed on time?”
“As the economy becomes more robust — our job gets a little better in terms of putting the budget together” added Senator John Yudichak, (D) Luzerne Carbon Counties.
Lawmakers must pass a balanced budget by July first.
While that hasn’t been done in the last several years some Republican lawmakers today said their goal this year is to get everything done in May.