State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Wolf readies second budget address amid wreckage of first year's spending fight

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 8, 2016 9:51 PM

Governor Tom Wolf is expected to deliver the second budget address of his term on Tuesday, and he isn't sharing many details.

"You'll have to wait until Tuesday," Wolf told reporters last week.

But with the current fiscal year's spending plan unresolved, the governor's speech is expected to hit familiar themes -- like his belief that a tentative budget deal defeated last year can be resurrected.

"It was a process, but we actually did reach agreement," said Wolf.

For the past month, the governor has been unwilling to give up the ghost of the budget "framework" negotiated in the final months of 2015. Republican leaders, meanwhile, have been determined to kill it.

"That framework is dead," said GOP House Majority Leader Dave Reed. "We need to finish the '15-'16 budget, move on... we can debate a lot of these issues in '16-'17, and a lot of issues we want to discuss."

Wolf still wants to hike education funding and close a huge budget deficit with the help of a levy on natural gas drillers and a broad-based tax increase on sales and/or personal income.

The Republicans who run the Legislature say they're still not on board with that approach.

The House GOP in particular has been steadfast in its opposition to new taxes. Senate Republicans say any tax hike must be accompanied by changes to the state's public pension benefits.

Published in State House Sound Bites

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