Republicans Don’t Get Wolf’s Forward-Looking Budget

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2021 file photo, state senator Jake Corman (R-Centre), speaks during a Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee hearing at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

By Patrick Berkery

February 9, 2022

Gov. Tom Wolf contends his budget positions Pennsylvania for a bright future. Republicans shoot it down with references your parents and/or grandparents will totally understand.

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf made his eighth and final budget proposal Tuesday, and, not surprisingly, leaders in the Republican-controlled state Legislature were swift to dismiss Wolf’s $43.7 billion plan.

“Harrisburg has become ‘Fantasy Island’ with this budget proposal,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre), referencing a show that, in its original iteration, went off the air nearly 40 years ago. 

“Senator Corman used ‘Fantasy Island,’ I’m using Wimpy in ‘Popeye.’ I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), name-checking a cartoon that originated in the 1930s. 

These dated references from Republicans give some indication of why Pennsylvania’s minimum wage ($7.25 since 2009) lags so far behind so many states.

Increasing Pennsylvania’s pitiful minimum wage is one component of Wolf’s budget, which seeks to take advantage of the state’s multibillion-dollar surplus (its first in more than a decade) to address funding disparities in public education, pump money into healthcare systems and higher education, address deteriorating roads and bridges, and more.

All told, Wolf’s plan represents an increase of about 13% over the current state budget of $38.6 billion. 

Wolf’s stance: We have the money to pay for initiatives that will position Pennsylvania for a sustainable future. If not now, when?

The state Legislature will get down to business on Wolf’s budget next week, when appropriations hearings begin in Harrisburg.


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