Wolf: budget framework in “deep peril”
A tentative outline for a state budget looks like it could crumble this week, dealing a bitter reality check to Governor Tom Wolf and the top lawmakers who said they could deliver a spending plan by Thanksgiving.
“Unfortunately, that work looks like it’s in peril, deep peril,” said Wolf on Monday. He made his remarks at the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon, a monthly event attended by reporters, lobbyists, and other Capitol observers.
Two weeks ago, Wolf stood beside top Republican and Democratic lawmakers to announce the outline of a budget deal – something to end the standstill that has cut off state funding for schools and many social services since July.
Both sides tell different stories about why the precarious pact is faltering.
The Wolf administration says GOP leaders failed to find the votes for the property tax relief plan.
Republicans says they’re uncomfortable with the amount of property tax relief the Wolf administration wants to send to Philadelphia.
The dispute could leave property tax relief out of the budget discussions completely, said Senate GOP spokeswoman Jenn Kocher.
Wolf has made it very clear he wants any budget deal to include property tax relief.
“The Republicans need to find their votes on the bipartisan agreement we made,” said Wolf.
Despite the delay, the governor said he remains opposed to a short-term spending plan that would free up state funding for contractors, schools, and nonprofits.
“I want a long-term, full-year budget,” said Wolf. “We’ve messed around for almost five months now.”