HARRISBURG – Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) and other members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly heard Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending proposals for Fiscal Year 2019-20 during his annual budget address on Tuesday.
The governor’s budget totals $34.1 billion, which is a $927 million increase over the current year. His plan does not include any new taxes on Pennsylvania residents, instead he called for an increase in the minimum wage and a number of fund transfers to support the additional spending. Wolf also wants to impose a severance tax on the natural gas industry, as he has unsuccessfully sought in previous years.
Simmons issued the following statement regarding the governor’s budget proposal:
“There is some good and bad in the governor's budget proposal.
“I like that the governor has not proposed any new broad-based tax increases. I also like the record investments into workforce development, agriculture and basic education.
“What I don’t like in the budget is the borrowing and high spending number. We must not spend more than we take in, and this budget proposal spends too much.
“That being said, I was encouraged by the governor’s call for bipartisanship and am confident that we can fulfill our constitutional duty of an on-time budget that doesn’t raise any broad-based taxes.”
The governor’s address is the traditional start of the budget process. The next step is a series of budget hearings by the House Appropriations Committee, which are scheduled to begin on Feb. 11.
Representative Justin Simmons
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs