Gov. Tom Wolf's budget is a new way forward for PA

Lowering costs while improving government, building good schools and creating jobs

Throughout this first week of House Appropriations Committee hearings on Gov. Tom Wolf's 2017-18 budget proposal, Republicans have been working hard in the press to pick apart his plan forward for PA before the ink is even dry on the page. So it might be surprising to discover that some Republicans are walking around the Capitol at the same time calling his proposal a "Republican" budget.


Sorry, Republicans, you don't get to take credit for someone else's sensible and responsible ideas while ignoring your own dangerous and irresponsible ones.


Gov. Tom Wolf's new way forward on the PA budget bears no resemblance to the Republican budgets of the past -- the ones they passed under Gov. Tom Corbett. The ones that featured irresponsible across-the-board cuts that decimated your kids' schools, increased your property and other local taxes, and crippled efforts to protect air and water quality and community health and safety.


The governor's new way forward features a strategy that’s' completely different:


1. Protect and expand the important gains Pennsylvania made over the past two years -- working together -- to invest in schools, improve public health, and restore crucial services that suffered after the cuts of 2011.


2. Pursue cost savings and efficiency in government by reducing bureaucracy and consolidating agencies where possible, while maintaining and even improving services for residents and small businesses.


3. Make smart investments in programs that prove effective at preserving and creating jobs for Pennsylvania workers while holding corporations accountable for the state money they do receive for economic development and job creation.


4. Avoid higher taxes for working families, small businesses and the middle class by forgoing broad based increases in the personal income and sales tax and instead, work toward balancing the budget by getting rid of the outrageous loopholes that huge corporations use to avoid their fair share. Make the natural gas industry a partner in funding our schools and communities -- like it is in every other gas-producing state.


Lowering costs while improving government, building good schools and creating jobs -- that's a new way forward for budgeting that hasn't been seen in Harrisburg in quite some time.


It's budgeting that works for all of us, not just the rich and well-connected. And it certainly doesn’t bear any similarity to the irresponsible Republican budgets we've suffered under previously.