HARRISBURG – Senator Judy Ward (R-30) issued the following statement today in response to Governor Wolf’s 2020-21 budget address:
“This budget contains more than a half-a-billion dollars in tax increases on employers and other things. Although these are not broad based taxes, any increase is concerning. If we agree to his billions in new spending and borrowing, a broad-based tax hike in future years is certain. We cannot add $1.5 billion or more to the state’s ledger and also add billions more in new borrowing without consequences. We need to take a closer look at how we can meet the basic responsibilities of government at a lower cost to taxpayers.
“I am deeply troubled that the governor wants to spend so much more, while at the same time cutting programs that our local communities rely on. Cuts to agriculture, regional cancer centers, school safety and other local priorities will have a negative impact on our region for years to come. I am particularly disappointed about the $4.3 million in cuts to the Department of Agriculture in light of the progress we have made over the past year to protect the future of farming in Pennsylvania. We should not jeopardize all of the hard work that went into helping our farmers.
“I also have deep concerns about the governor’s new tax on State Police coverage. Previous versions of this plan would have forced rural communities to pay more for the same level of service, in spite of the fact that half of the State Police’s calls come from communities that have their own local police force. The details about his plan are still murky, but we should not agree to any plan that serves as a cash grab against rural Pennsylvania.
“Our highest priority should always be to pass a budget that is responsible and sustainable. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the months ahead to accomplish our shared goals without adding new burdens on taxpayers – now or in the future.”