June 30, 2015

PA Alliance for Retired Americans Urges Veto of Republican Legislature’s Budget

The GOP proposal lacks the critical changes and investments needed to turn around our economy and help seniors stay in their homes

Wayne Burton, President of the PA Alliance for Retired Americans, released the following statement regarding the budget proposal passed by the State House of Representatives:

“The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans urges Gov. Tom Wolf to veto House Bill 1192, the State Budget Bill advanced by legislative leaders, which would preserve Corbett-era budget cuts, provide zero dollars in new property tax relief and continue to allow natural gas drillers to escape the taxation they face in every other state.  This budget proposal also does not address efforts to improve the Commonwealth’s economy by like making corporate taxes fairer, and raising the minimum wage.  PARA is disturbed by the bill’s lack of attention paid to reinvestment in schools, and that it once again fixes the budget’s structural problems with gimmicks and one-time revenue sources.  This shortsighted proposal is worthy of a full veto by the Governor, and a lengthy standoff if that is what it takes to get the budget done right. 

“The proposed budget ignores the historic statewide victory won by Governor Wolf last fall as he campaigned on restoring education funding and education equity to our public schools, the severance tax and ending the budget gimmicks that were the hallmark of most Corbett budgets.   In addition to being good policy, these proposals enjoy widespread public support. The PA Alliance supports his proposals to increase the minimum wage and provide property tax relief for seniors by shifting to other taxes.

“Almost as disappointing as the substance of the legislation was the rhetoric coming from Legislative Leaders.  They lay claim to their own electoral mandate, despite that mandate resting on the back of gerrymandered districts.  They move to pass a budget at the last possible moment, yet point the finger at the Governor for a possible ‘shut down’.  Many even decry the Wolf proposal as a ‘tax increase’ rather than the tax shift that it is, even though many supported larger tax increases by co-sponsoring HB 76 last year, on which the Wolf tax shift was based!  The Governor has been openly trying to negotiate with the legislature, and he included Republican ideas and priorities in his budget from the beginning.  Yet his overtures are met with political gamesmanship.

“The Republican caucus has called the Bill ‘responsible and reasonable’ but it is simply a continued push in the wrong direction.  There’s no property tax relief, no job creation efforts, and a lack of focus on education that leaves schools stuck in a financial trap.  We urge Gov. Wolf to veto this Budget and continue advocating for real change that can actually product results and return Pennsylvania to prominence.”  

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, led by President Wayne Burton of Chester County, has over 300,000 members and 150 local affiliates across the Commonwealth.  PARA’s mission is to educate seniors and the public about retiree issues, and organize seniors to advocate for their interests in Harrisburg and Washington.  To learn more, visit www.pennretiredamericans.org


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