Briggs: Republican sham budget deserves Wolf's veto

Lawmaker says gimmick-filled budget fails to restore school funding, offer property tax relief

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, said today he voted against the Republican-crafted budget bill because it fails to restore deep cuts made to public education by the former Gov. Tom Corbett, doesn't offer any form of property tax relief and relies heavily on gimmicks and one-time funding sources.  

"Today I watched the Republican majority in the state House pass a budget that completely fails to prioritize education, ignores the property tax issue plaguing homeowners across the state, and uses accounting tricks to close a structural deficit despite the dire and plainly foreseeable consequences," Briggs said. "I understand that Republicans are using whatever scheme they can think up to get the budget passed before the deadline, but honestly I am worried about getting this budget done right."

Briggs said House Democrats were not included in the formulation of the spending plan that he voted against, and that the plan barely provides one-quarter of the funding needed to begin restoring public education cuts made by the previous administration.

"When Pennsylvanian voters sent Governor Tom Wolf to Harrisburg, they made their view on budget priorities clear," Briggs said. "Pennsylvanians want real property tax relief. They want a serious investment in education. And they want natural gas drillers to pay their fair share through a modest and reasonable severance tax. This budget fails on all counts."

Briggs said the plan, which now heads to the state Senate, also relies on $1.5 billion from unsustainable sources and gimmicks, including delaying $564 million in payments to a future year.

"Governor Corbett may be out of office, but this is the same type of tricks and gimmicks he used to make it look like his budgets worked and got us in this trouble in the first place," Briggs said. "This budget fails the state and its residents in too many ways to counts, which is why I am calling on Governor Tom Wolf to veto this bill. I am ready and willing to stay in Harrisburg for however long it takes to ensure we have a budget that moves Pennsylvania forward."