HARRISBURG – Rep. Lou Schmitt (R-Blair) and other members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly today heard Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending proposals for Fiscal Year 2019-20 during his annual budget address.
The governor’s budget totals $34.1 billion, which is a $927 million increase over the current year. His plan does not include any new taxes on Pennsylvania residents, instead he called for an increase in the minimum wage and a number of fund transfers to support the additional spending. Wolf also wants to impose a severance tax on the natural gas industry, as he has unsuccessfully sought in previous years.
Schmitt issued the following statement regarding the governor’s budget proposal:
“It was nice to hear the governor start off by saying there would be no new taxes. However, from that point forward, I became very skeptical about his budget message.
“He talked about spending nearly a billion dollars in new money on his programs. But I wonder where the revenue is going to come from to pay for those programs. He wants to spend more on students, more on teachers and more on welfare, but he gave us no indication of how we’re going to fund this increase in spending both now and in the future. I don’t want to see future generations of Pennsylvanians saddled with the burden of paying for it down the road.
“We’re going to take a close look at the governor’s proposal in the weeks ahead and work with the administration in coming up with a responsible spending plan that truly benefits the citizens of the 79th District and our Commonwealth.”
The governor’s address is the traditional start of the budget process. The next step is a series of budget hearings by the House Appropriations Committee, which are scheduled to begin on Feb. 11.
Representative Lou Schmitt
79th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives