Oberlander Responds to Governor’s New Budget Plan
HARRISBURG – After listening to the governor’s budget address for the upcoming 2016-17 fiscal year, Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) said that any new budget must reflect the priorities of the people of Pennsylvania and not calls for higher, unsustainable government spending.

“While I understand the critical need to ensure that the core functions of government are funded and that we maintain our responsibilities to the people, I remain concerned about the overall growth of government being proposed,” Oberlander said. “The fact of the matter remains that the people we represent are expecting us to ensure their tax dollars are stretched to their absolute maximum, and with his call for higher taxes, I’m not convinced this budget proposal leads us there.”

Gov. Tom Wolf today unveiled his priorities for the 2016-17 fiscal year, even though several important sections of the 2015-16 spending plan were vetoed by the administration. The $33.3 billion plan would include an annual tax increase of $2.7 billion, much of which would be funded through an 11 percent income tax hike.

On the education front, Oberlander was pleased to see that the governor’s proposal includes implementation of the new funding formula developed by the Basic Education Funding Commission, on which she served. That funding formula would take into account enrollment, poverty, median household income and other factors. This would help ensure that local rural schools continue to receive fair funding from the Commonwealth, she added.

Oberlander was disappointed that the proposal did not place an importance on the state’s No. 1 industry – agriculture. Numerous agriculture programs, which he vetoed in December, also were left out of his new budget plan. Likewise, critical health programs, including those to treat diabetes and ALS, regional cancer centers and poison control centers, also were not included.

“I am hopeful that the governor will take another look at what the state’s revenues are and what can realistically be funded in the next year, keeping in mind what Pennsylvanians can actually afford,” Oberlander noted. “To help avoid last year’s impasse, he should see his budget as his starting offer, not the final say, and start negotiations now.”

More information on the budget proposal is available at RepOberlander.com.

Representative Donna Oberlander
63rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton
RepOberlander.com / Facebook.com/RepOberlander
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