HARRISBURG — Senator Lisa Baker, R-20th, issued the following statement regarding today’s state budget votes. She did not support the revenue raising components of the plan:
Trying to responsibly generate sufficient revenues to support the state budget spending plan and close the structural deficit is proving exceedingly difficult. Various suggestions and proposals for raising revenue over the past several months have created controversy because of questions about policy soundness and financial reliability.
At the same time, Pennsylvania is now four weeks past the deadline for having a balanced state budget in place. It is well past time to assemble and send to the governor a full package that removes the uncertainty for taxpayers and those who depend on state programs and services, and to allow the bills providing funding for the state-related universities to proceed.
Given this urgency, I voted in favor of the bills containing changes to the education, human services, and fiscal codes. The changes contained in these bills generally fix problems and meet needs in an acceptable way. The human services code features some essential cost controlling and fraud fighting steps that will help in balancing future budgets.
However, I do not support several of the choices made in generating revenues, particularly hitting consumers and some small business owners with higher fees. Some of the transfers of money from special purposes into the general fund, and borrowing against the Tobacco Settlement Fund, also seem less than desirable in their impact. For these reasons, I voted against the tax code and administrative code bills.
Even at that, these two bills do contain constructive provisions, such as the tax advantages to make the newly established ABLE program more workable for families and establishing a public hearing process before future state prison closures are considered.
Andrew M. Seder
District Communications/Constituent Services for Pike and Wayne Counties
Office of Senator Lisa Baker
2512 Route 6
Hawley, PA 18428