Oct. 06, 2017

Dear Editor:

To say I am disappointed in this year’s budget negotiations would be a huge understatement.

House Republicans have passed various balanced budget proposals since April that did not raise taxes on Pennsylvania families. However, none of the other parties involved would agree to any of these plans because they were trying to hold out and create a pressure situation that would guarantee them their desired tax increases.

It seems to be the same old song and dance. Harrisburg has been unwilling to reduce spending, so they forge on with lofty promises and then go back to the taxpayers or our business community with their hand out.

During these budget negotiations, I have personally fought against proposals for increased utility taxes, a shale tax, a hotel tax and a warehouse sales tax expansion that would hurt our state’s ability to keep and attract businesses and create more jobs.

Why would we work on plans that raise taxes when we can balance the budget with existing tax money already paid to Harrisburg and sitting idle in unused accounts?

To add to my aggravation, earlier this week, Wolf was very happy to blame House Republicans for the lack of a completed budget, even after months of being disconnected from the budget process entirely. Then he indicated he will manage the state’s finances by taking more money from the state liquor stores, which is a blatant political maneuver to prevent privatization.

The governor also criticized the Legislature for a recent credit downgrade for the state. However, this is nothing more than a manufactured crisis to hinder budget negotiations when Pennsylvania has used fund transfers in the past to pay our obligations without repercussion.

Rest assured, I have been standing strong protecting the taxpayers and job creators of Pennsylvania by passing meaningful legislation that will reduce the amount of debt we have. I have also been holding the line on taxes so citizens have greater control over where they spend their hard-earned dollars. I will continue to work hard to put Pennsylvania back to work by trying to reduce the huge regulatory burdens we place on our businesses. The more jobs and wage earners we have in the Commonwealth, the more taxes that will be paid to fund the vital programs important to all Commonwealth residents.

This budget impasse has stopped our momentum since my colleagues and I passed pension reform in June and has prevented other important and popular legislation from moving forward. I invite my constituents in the 81st District to join me in this effort.


Rich Irvin
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
81st Legislative District