“Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) election-year budget plan unveiled Tuesday will renew battles with the Republican-controlled Legislature over imposing a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas and increasing the minimum wage.”
Wolf “will count on an improving fiscal picture — potentially aided by December’s federal tax overhaul law — to pave a smoother budget process after three years dominated by protracted partisan stalemates over how to plug gaping deficits.” (AP)
BUDGET BACKLASH. Wolf’s Republican challengers were quick to critique the proposed budget.
State Sen. Scott Wagner (R) “said the governor’s budget shows Wolf’s number-one priority is about getting re-elected as evidenced by the time he has spent traveling around the state. Further, he was critical of education spending in the budget that will go to line the pockets of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, one of Wolf’s top supporters.”
Health care consultant Paul Mango referred to Wolf as “Thomas the Tax Engine Wolf”, saying that “a billion dollars more in spending at a time when the commonwealth is already borrowing just to balance the books and continuing to kick the can down the road on our state pension crisis that is taking up one-tenth of our budget.” (PennLive)
NEW BILL. State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) is introducing a bill that would make it illegal to abort a child because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome. (release)