Tom Wolf Fiddles While Pensions Explode

By Scott WagnerTom Wolf Fiddles While Pensions Explode
I am writing to respond to the June 25 Op-ed from Frances Wolf, first lady of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

It’s unfortunate that nearly a half-year after his inauguration Gov. Tom Wolf remains in campaign mode, crisscrossing the state with Mrs. Wolf and others making absurd claims about education spending.

Mrs. Wolf writes that King Elementary school, part of the Lancaster Area School District, has a library filled with 30-year-old textbooks and Mrs. Wolf is quoted saying, “They don’t have the funds to replace them with updated versions.” She leads readers to believe it’s the result of “devastating cuts” in state funding.

A quick check by my office reveals that the school district is sitting on a funding balance of $15.24 million.

And while the governor promises a windfall of new spending to help schools, he ducks action on the number one cause of school cutbacks and property tax hikes: skyrocketing pension costs.

That same school district the First Lady visited will see their pension costs go up by $4 million in 2016, which alone wipes out all of the promised new funding from the governor.

The fact is, Pennsylvania spends more on schools today than it ever has in the history of the Commonwealth, $27.4 billion.

That’s more than all but five other states in the nation.  Pennsylvania is ranked 12th in per-pupil spending, at around $15,000, while the U.S. average is $11,300.

Obviously, if commitment to education was measured by dollars spent, Pennsylvania is among the most committed states in America.

But, if we measure that commitment by reining in the skyrocketing costs that are placing a crushing burden on schools, such as pensions and unchecked union dominance, then we have work to do.

Wolf wants to raise taxes – personal income taxes, sales taxes and impose a natural gas extraction tax. But in seeking his tax hikes, he should get off the campaign trail and make an honest appeal for his priorities.

State Sen. Scott Wagner, a Republican, represents the York County-based 28th District.

Tom Wolf Fiddles While Pensions Explode

One thought on “Tom Wolf Fiddles While Pensions Explode”

  1. Nothing new here…tax and spend democrats more concerned about their “base” (I.E. unions and union contributions) than about ALL of Pennsylvanians.

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