Turzai: Pennsylvanians Need Governor to Sign 2015-16 Budget
3/22/2016
Education funding lines increase more than $835 million

HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) issued the following statement today urging Gov. Tom Wolf to sign the 2015-16 budget supplement passed last week that includes the highest education spending in state history:

“Tax dollars are being collected, the revenue is available to fully fund schools and there is no reason to continue chaos and crisis. There is no leverage to be gained,” said Turzai. “With more than $835 million in increases to education funding lines on the table, on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, we are urging Gov. Wolf to sign this bipartisan-supported budget. It is the right thing to do. Using a veto as ‘leverage’ to hold students hostage is reckless.”

Increases in the budget education lines (click here to see attachment) include record spending in basic education funding and record dollars allocated to the state’s ballooning obligations to Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System. The General Fund would see an increase of more than $561 million just to cover the costs of keeping the retirement plan solvent.

At the recommendation of the governor, a line item in the budget for state reimbursements for certain school construction projects – in the amount of $306 million – was removed from the General Fund budget for this and future years; however, that amount is to be paid by state debt refinancing, which will expedite the construction process.

“The public has grown weary of this type of political brinksmanship,” said Turzai. “The money is constitutionally provided for and record investments in education have been made. It’s time to sign the 2015-16 budget and let teachers teach and students learn.”

The $30.8 billion budget, pushed by Budget Secretary Randy Albright, would have spent $750 million more in 2015-16. His unaffordable and irresponsible approach would have added an additional $1.5 billion deficit to the 2016-17 budget. This defies commonsense, said Turzai.

Representative Mike Turzai
The Speaker
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jay Ostrich
717.772.9943 (office), 717.649.6547 (cell)
jostrich@pahousegop.com
RepTurzai.com / facebook.com/RepTurzai / @RepTurzai
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