Sturla says 2015-16 budget perpetuates mistakes of years past

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said he voted against a Republican spending plan that fails to restore education funding, address the structural deficit or bring any property tax relief to Pennsylvania homeowners.

“For the past four years, Republicans who controlled the legislature in both the House and Senate, along with a Republican governor, passed one irresponsible budget after another. Four years of mismanagement eliminated 20,000 teachers and school staff resulting in larger class sizes, declining test scores and skyrocketing local property taxes. It caused the Commonwealth credit rating to be downgraded multiple times and allowed the Commonwealth to drop from seventh in job creation to 50th. We cannot afford another year of the same irresponsible policies that have placed the state in its current fiscal predicament and that’s what this budget proposal does,” Sturla said.

Sturla said the plan over-projects future revenues and relies on one-time revenue sources and accounting gimmicks, guaranteeing a built-in structural deficit for next year.

“This is another budget that runs the state into the ground. It puts off Social Security payments as an accounting gimmick to ring in a ‘balanced’ budget. Pennsylvania families can’t fudge the numbers to balance their budget and there are serious ramifications for putting off paying the Commonwealth’s obligations. The numbers tell the story and there are $800 million of ‘adjustments’ in this budget which translates into $800 million worth of ‘made up’ numbers to try and make it look balanced. It is not.

“Last year, Tom Wolf pledged to restore education cuts, implement a modest shale tax to pay for that restoration, bring property tax relief, address the structural deficit and make government more transparent, and the electorate agreed. During that same campaign season, Republicans claimed to agree, but now are reverting to their old tactics and that is a mistake for the citizens of Pennsylvania.

“We cannot afford another year of these abysmal policies and I could not support this plan.”