House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody statement on GOP budget scheme

HARRISBURG, Sept. 5 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody issued this statement regarding today’s House Republican news conference:


“On June 30, a large bipartisan House majority passed a $32 billion General Fund budget to support state programs and services important to the people of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this budget has not yet been paid for. For the last six weeks, a group of Republicans from central Pennsylvania tried to identify restricted receipts money in non-General Fund accounts. Now that we have their product, Democrats in the House will give it careful review. There are a host of unanswered questions.


“At the outset of our review I question the legality of raiding accounts that are restricted by law for special purposes. Then there’s the larger question of whether their math is correct. Is this money truly available in the amounts they claim? I’m deeply concerned this plan would lead to destructive cuts in programs and services that Pennsylvanians need to have, such as education, health care and a half billion dollars cut in transportation.


“I appreciate the effort made by this group and we’ll evaluate what they brought forward today. It will be revealing to see how the other 100 or so Republicans in the House react to it, as well.


“Our perennial budget problems of the last decade resulted from the overuse of one-time gimmicks and faulty revenue estimates. Fantasy budgeting won’t cut it anymore; it’s time for a reality check. House Democrats believe that an honest budget solution must include the use of recurring revenue sources such as a severance tax on gas drillers and a higher minimum wage for Pennsylvania’s workers, among other steps.  We are committed to working in a bipartisan way with Republicans to do the job that must be finished.”