ShareThis Page
Pennsylvania

House GOP tries again to resolve Pennsylvania standoff with own budget

| Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, 3:57 p.m.
Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives debate the budget, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.  The House voted 115 to 86 in favor for a $30.3 billion general appropriations bill on Tuesday, a day after a bipartisan Senate vote to approve a $30.8 billion budget that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf supports.
Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives debate the budget, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. The House voted 115 to 86 in favor for a $30.3 billion general appropriations bill on Tuesday, a day after a bipartisan Senate vote to approve a $30.8 billion budget that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf supports.
Rep. Joe Markosek D-Allegheny: 'This is a phony budget proposal, and it is a dangerous budget proposal.'
Rep. Joe Markosek D-Allegheny: 'This is a phony budget proposal, and it is a dangerous budget proposal.'
Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, abruptly adjourned the chamber after a brief floor session on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.
Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, abruptly adjourned the chamber after a brief floor session on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.
The United States flag waves in the wind at the Pennsylvania Capitol building, in Harrisburg.
The United States flag waves in the wind at the Pennsylvania Capitol building, in Harrisburg.

HARRISBURG — Widening a Republican rift in the Pennsylvania Legislature, House Republicans unilaterally attacked the state government's 5-month-old budget stalemate with a spending plan of their own Tuesday, rejecting a bipartisan Senate vote a day earlier on a rival approach endorsed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The House voted 115-86 for a $30.3 billion general appropriations bill, with four Republicans joining every Democrat in voting “no.”

The bill's passage represented the second time in the past month that a proposed budget deal between Wolf and the Legislature's Republican majorities has collapsed.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said the Senate will re-send the $30.8 billion budget bill it passed Monday, a spending plan that Wolf has endorsed but that House Republicans protested as being too expensive. A key hang-up is the $1.2 billion tax increase that could accompany it as part of the Senate's deal with Wolf.

The House GOP has not entirely explained how it would pay for its spending bill through higher taxes on tobacco products, expanding the personal income tax to lottery winnings and license fees on an undisclosed expansion of casino gambling.

“There's been a lot of talk in the Capitol regarding our framework, our lofty goals,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph, R-Delaware, told colleagues during comments on the floor. “But the toughest part of passing a budget in this framework is how to pay for it.”

Wolf, who opposes the House spending bill, has insisted on a tax increase big enough to deliver a record boost in aid to public schools and narrow a long-term budget deficit that has damaged Pennsylvania's credit rating.

As a trade-off, he agreed to sign legislation long sought by Senate Republicans to scale back public pension benefits and by House Republicans to allow private businesses to sell wine outside the state-controlled system.

The Senate bill delivered $350 million in new aid for public schools; the House Republican bill delivered $150 million.

Democrats said it was very similar to a Republican budget bill that Wolf vetoed June 30 because it did not do enough to address the deficit or reverse GOP-engineered cuts to education aid and human services funding dating to 2011.

“As you may recall, the governor vetoed that plan because it was inadequate,” said Rep. Joe Markosek of Monroeville, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me