State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-102) was the last person to testify before the State House Appropriations Committee concerning this year’s Pennsylvania budget.
“I just want to remind you as we go forward that every dollar we spend here is a dollar a hard-working Pennsylvanian first had to earn. We are talking about the dollars of truck drivers who spend maybe days, weeks away from their homes providing for their children, a single mom who works two jobs, the garbage man who risks his life and limb every day jumping up and down on the truck.”
Diamond is a truck driver in real life.
Here is his short speech. Springfield’s Bill Adolph makes a quick cameo.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal expands the size of government and shrinks the size of your wallet.
The governor argues that his property tax relief plan would offset the brunt of these tax hikes, but this relief is delayed until 2016-17. In the meantime, the state will collect higher taxes and retain those funds.
Should Gov. Wolf’s property tax plan pass the General Assembly, there’s no guarantee school districts will stop raising property taxes. Even if local governments did manage to hold the line on property taxes, Pennsylvanians would suffer a net tax increase of $4.3 billion in the 2016-2017 budget.
These tax hikes will grease the wheels for record levels of spending. Under Gov. Wolf’s plan, true General Fund spending in 2015-16 would reach $31.6 billion (Governor Wolf moves $1.75 billion in school pension payments to a new fund, which makes the General Fund increase appear smaller). This amounts to the largest spending increase in 25 years.
Of course, the General Fund is only a portion of Pennsylvania’s total operating budget. If each of Gov. Wolf’s proposals were enacted, Pennsylvania’s total operating budget would surpass $78.6 billion—the highest spending level in the commonwealth’s history.
Unsustainable spending growth and tax increases have been the prevailing trend in Pennsylvania since the 1970s. As a result, Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in job, income and population growth. Governor Wolf’s proposals would accelerate this trend despite evidence of its harmful consequences.
There is a better alternative.
We need to grow the economy by limiting government. This means unleashing innovators and protecting working families—not weighing them down with higher taxes.
Governor Wolf unveiled his 2015 – 2016 budget on March 3.
The governor is proposing to give the public school system an additional $1 Billion dollars in his budget.
I agree that our public school system needs to be a major focus.
Getting a good education is the foundation for success.
I am a firm believer that our public school system needs to “reinvent itself” to meet the needs to compete in a world economy and also to meet the needs of the ever- changing workforce required for manufacturing and the various skilled labor sectors.
Everyone knows that Pennsylvania has a pension crisis and it must be fixed immediately.
School teachers and administrators who will be retiring in the future are part of the pension system that has to be changed so that Pennsylvanians are not continuing to throw money at a problem that will continue to be a problem and will require more money in the future.
Governor Wolf is in the process of throwing money at the education problem.
Money will not solve the problem – the problem needs to be fixed first.
In the business world, this concept is called throwing money down a black hole with no results.
There are also plenty of solutions on the spending side that should be implemented which would free up money to actually impact our children’s education.
In addition to pension reform, eliminating prevailing wage mandates on all school district capital and maintenance projects, updating the funding formula would all alleviate some of the financial burden our school districts face.