Pyle Issues Statement on Governor’s Line-Item Veto Press Conference
HARRISBURG – Rep. Jeff Pyle (R- Armstrong/Indiana/Butler) today issued the following statement about Gov. Tom Wolf’s Capitol press conference on Tuesday where Wolf announced he will again use his veto pen – this time to slash more than $6 billion from the $30.3 billion 2015-16 state budget that had been sent to him via a bipartisan Senate vote in time for Christmas:

“Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf announced he will sign House Bill 1460, the state’s 2015-16 budget bill, and began driving out partial payments to our social services and schools. His announcement also hurled insults at Republicans calling the budget, ‘garbage’ and saying it was, ‘an exercise in stupidity.’

“The governor's newfound interest in the functions of government begins six months after this budget impasse began. To refresh everyone’s memory, on June 30 the state House and Senate sent to Wolf a balanced and responsible $30.2 billion budget that did not raise taxes. Within an hour, he became the first governor since World War II to veto an entire budget.

“For the uninformed observer, the ‘garbage’ statement implies a lean and mean, bare bones budget cutting everyone and everything including school funding. That's just not the truth. The ‘exercise’ in ‘stupidity’ he signed was a budget worth $30.3 billion dollars including hundreds of millions more for our schools AND social services and still doesn't raise your taxes. Ironically, what he signed is pretty close the same spending level as the budget he vetoed in July.

“Wolf used his authority to selectively line item zero/reduce many funding lines such as prisons, burn centers, newborn screenings, diabetes, Pitt, Penn State, PHEAA, job re-training, etc. He knows those services and institutions are critical and must be restored and is trying to force the Legislature into a corner for more spending, which necessitates more taxes. I've seen this before. It’s a page from former Gov. Ed Rendell’s playbook. The governor doesn't tell you his spending requires new taxes. Rather, he says it’s ‘raising revenue to make investments.’ Whatever lingo you banter, ‘raising revenue’ means your taxes are going up.

“His actions make possible incremental partial payments to our schools and service agencies to allow them to continue operations, which, for the truly observant, is exactly what we, the House, has unsuccessfully tried to do three times over the past six months. Our challenge has been NOT to achieve a majority of votes (102) but to achieve a veto-proof vote count (134) to override the governor. We could never muster 16 Democrat votes. I'm not so sure that's not by design.

“Wolf has stated often he felt a need to ‘put pressure on people.’ Under the promises of even more money than the increased funding found in House Bill 1460, the governor’s ‘pressure’ achieved nothing but defunding our entire state for six months. Many of our social service agencies began borrowing money just to stay open (again, right from the Book of Rendell) - Pressure.

“I’m also made aware the governor likes to visit Democrat legislators and promise that they will face primary election challenges if their votes do not please him. Curiously, in all three attempts to pass emergency funding for our schools and services, we’ve never been able to garner a single Democrat vote to override the governor's veto. Pressure....maybe that's just how he rolls.

“The Gov's announcement also slams the Legislature to pass a ‘real’ budget. OK. Pennsylvania’s a balanced budget state, i.e., our expenditures and revenues must match. As a state, Pennsylvania’s got, all in, $30.3 billion dollars. In practical terms, I know my family’s ‘real’ monthly budget cannot spend in excess of our monthly incomes. We can't spend what we don't have. No one can. That's ‘real’ budgeting. Taking more of our money out of our pockets for your personal policy goals doesn't interest us. Make do with what you got. It's called ‘budgeting.’

“The bottom line is that we, the Republican legislature, stood up for our taxpayers, increased funding to our schools and services and did it without raising anyone’s taxes. If that’s perceived as ‘garbage’ then so be it. The Gov's going to need a landfill. My citizens still say ‘No.’”

Representative Jeff Pyle
60th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Charles Lardner
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