Wheatley issues statement on budget discussions

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding state budget negotiations in the House:

“We have thousands of families struggling to find their financial footing because of this raging pandemic that has closed or limited their abilities to feed themselves and their families. Thousands of our students don’t have the ability to access school instruction because of limited access to technology and reliable internet service. We have hundreds of our small businesses and venues still waiting for some financial relief.

“To that end, we have $1.3 in federal dollars for the sole purpose of offering some short-term financial relief. Instead, Harrisburg is holding the money so that it can be used toward a sham of a budget. 

“It's yet another case of those in the state Capitol who fail to understand or care about what’s best for our residents and are only thinking of their own interests. What happened to the belief that, during times of difficulty, we work together to come up with ideas and solutions and collaborate? Instead, there’s a push toward actions that are short-sighted and short-termed. That is what will happen if we continue forward with short-sighted and irresponsible budgeting.

“What about closing some of our corporate tax loopholes, or consider emerging industries, such as our cannabis industry, to resolve the state’s $3 billion deficit? There have been many ideas, proposals and solutions shared to help mitigate this budget challenge, but none of these is being considered in any real way. It’s because those in power only want what they want, and far too often, members of our caucus are more than willing to accommodate them for fear of lost crumbs from the all-powerful majority’s table. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of this merry-go-round process. 

“When will we have a real budget that resolves our long-term issues? To ultimately decide to do nothing and take the road of least resistance at a time such as now is a total failure of leadership and shouldn’t be allowed to continue. Pennsylvanians deserve better, and we, as a legislative body, must do better.”