Sen. Scott Wagner: 'We're purging Senate members out'

Written by Ed Mahon/York Daily Records | Mar 31, 2016 10:55 AM

Republican state Senator Scott Wagner of York County. (Robert J. Gurecki -- Daily Times)

(York) -- State Senator Scott Wagner says lawmakers don't follow directions from legislative leaders as much as have in the past.

"There was a time when leadership in the House and Senate told their members what to do," the York County lawmaker told a crowd at The Yorktowne Hotel on Wednesday. "They went down the hall, they cut a deal with the governor or whatever ... and they came back and told their members: You vote for this."

Wagner, of Spring Garden Township, said most members listened. But now, he said, that day is gone.

"It's truly over. And I can tell you, we're purging Senate members out, and there's a large purge out in the House," Wagner said. "...There is a movement taking place."

Wagner made the comments during a meeting of the Rotary Club of York.

He told the crowd that change would not happen overnight, but, over the next two to four years, "you're going to see a lot of movement." Wagner, who is cycle chairman for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, said after the meeting that he has been recruiting Republican Senate candidates who are business owners and understand how private sector works. Here are three other things to know about his talk, which featured a mix of his personal story and politics.

1. Wagner's storyHe talked about growing up on farm in York Township, going to college for a year before deciding it wasn't for him and starting his own waste company. He is currently the head of Penn Waste, a  recycling and waste collection company.

"I joke with people that I've been in the waste business my entire life, because as a kid ... I would shovel horse manure on my parents' farm," Wagner said. "And I received $5 a week."

Wagner said he was involved in politics as a contributor for many years. He was elected to the state Senate in March of 2014 after challenging Republican leaders and waging a successful write-in campaign.

2. State spending: "Folks, we have massive financial issues in Pennsylvania that must be resolved," Wagner said.

Wagner criticized state spending. He said pension debt is rising, and he said the money spent on benefits for employees is out of control.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has called for a personal income tax increase from 3.07 percent to 3.4 percent, as well as additional sources of revenue, in his 2016-17 budget proposal, saying new revenue is needed to increase education funding and deal with a structural deficit.

Wagner said he doesn't plan to support any budget that includes tax increases and "doesn't address efficiencies, accountability and controls on spending."

3. Wagner's styleWagner has publicly clashed with fellow Republicans, and he's been a frequent critic of Wolf and unions.

"I've upset some people. So what?" Wagner said. "And trust me folks, I don't have a problem sleeping at night. OK? Because I'm up there to do the right thing."


*This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record . 

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