Krueger-Braneky opposes broadly contested House GOP budget plan

HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 Following Wednesday’s House budget plan vote, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, released the following statement opposing its passage:


"I voted ‘no’ on an irresponsible budget plan that puts Pennsylvania's economy at risk. Rather than finally bringing up a vote on a severance tax on Marcellus Shale, the House Republican leadership decided to cynically rebrand the existing impact fee as a severance tax, with no difference in policy or new revenue – a vote that passed along party lines.


“In a farcical political ploy to claim that they have not raised taxes, the House GOP voted for a plan that raids restricted funds and literally makes up numbers. In a move that doesn't make a shred of financial sense, the approved bill auctions off future payments from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement – worth $2.9 billion – for the fire sale price of $1 billion, essentially giving away $1.9 billion in resources that provide health care for workers with disabilities, nursing home care, and home health care services that keep our seniors safe.


“Here in Delaware County, employees and employers alike count on public transportation to get people to work. But my colleagues voted to cut $32 million from SEPTA, which will result in a 40 percent reduction in transit and Regional Rail service while raising fares across the system by 20 percent. This will devastate not only the working-class people in the 161st District, but will cause long-term harm to the economic competitiveness of our region.


“Finally, despite the federal EPA repeatedly telling us that we've cut the PA Department of Environmental Protection staff so deeply that the safety of our drinking water is at risk, this plan cuts $217 million from environmental and agriculture programs, putting our very air and water at stake.


“This budget is a bad deal for all of the voters, the businesses, and the children of the 161st District, and I joined all of my Democratic colleagues in standing firmly against it – and just one more vote from across the aisle would have stopped this disastrous bill. Unfortunately, this vote shows just how firm a grip the oil and gas industry continues to have on our state government and why who we send to Harrisburg is so important.”