Gov. Wolf ends budget impasse

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Gov. Wolf ends budget impasse

Voice: November 2017

With state House leaders unable to pass a revenue plan to pay for the budget they approved in June, Gov. Tom Wolf stepped in and announced that he would take his own action to balance the budget, guaranteeing that crucial payments to school districts, human service providers, and other services will keep flowing.

“I’ve had enough of the games,” Wolf said during an Oct. 4 press conference. “Over the past several months, I have been flexible and patient as (House leaders) have repeatedly failed to agree amongst themselves on how to approach the budget. In the absence of a compromise revenue plan getting to my desk, I am going to take action to manage our state’s finances.”

The Wolf administration has put plans in motion to secure $1.25 billion in loans against state liquor store profits, an amount that is sufficient to balance the 2017-18 state budget and keep state money flowing to public schools.

The three-month long state budget impasse put state payments to schools and other service providers at risk. And, with the state House’s inability to muster votes for a bipartisan revenue package that the governor and the Senate agreed to in July, the state coffers were nearly depleted.

Wolf’s leadership prevented a school funding crisis that would have left school districts without essential state payments that they need to operate.

“Gov. Wolf’s leadership will help Pennsylvania move forward after months of inaction in the state House,” said PSEA President Dolores McCracken. “This could have been a real crisis, but the governor got the job done when a lot of lawmakers refused to do theirs.”

The now-final state budget includes key school funding increases that will nearly erase the almost $1 billion in school funding cuts that the General Assembly approved in 2011.

“Now, we have a fully funded state budget, and we have the revenues Pennsylvania needs to pay for key investments in public schools,” McCracken said. “I’m very glad we have a governor who makes school funding a priority – and who can exercise the leadership we need to put our schools and students first.”