HARRISBURG – Following the governor’s budget address to a joint session of the House and Senate this morning, Rep. Rich Irvin (R-Huntingdon/Centre/Mifflin) released this statement regarding the $34 billion proposal:
“The governor’s proposal was similar to past years in that he is calling for increased spending while banking on $4.5 billion of borrowing to pay for it. Although he did not mention it in his speech he announced he wants to increase the tax burden on natural gas drillers. Considering the industry already pays a substantial impact fee on top of the standard taxes and fees all businesses in the state pay, his request to tax drillers even more would be counterproductive.
“The drilling industry has brought many high-paying, direct-industry jobs to the state, not to mention the many jobs derived from ancillary businesses that support the industry. On top of that, the impact fees have benefitted local municipalities throughout the state and the industry as whole has improved the economic climate. More taxes that unfairly target this singular industry will drive them out of our state, leaving a deficit of jobs and capital many Pennsylvanians have come to rely upon.
“Another issue I am also concerned about that the governor failed to mention in his budget address is his desire to double the minimum wage without any plans to help the middle class that is struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck. With only 2.3 percent of the workforce earning minimum wage, I think we need to look to attracting more high-paying jobs to the state and training our workforce for those jobs. That is a better long-term solution that won’t harm businesses that employ minimum wage workers and will set up more people for careers that can truly support their families.
“I was encouraged by his focus on career and technical education and agriculture. These are two areas House Republicans have long fought to support. Continuing to invest in our skilled labor force and supporting our state’s No. 1 industry will benefit us long down the road. His proposals in these two specific areas will be interesting to delve into further.
“These are only a few of highlights from his address. There are many pieces of the puzzle we call a state budget, and the House will spend the next month diving into the details of the budget proposal and working toward a plan of our own that the House, Senate and governor can agree upon. We want to ensure your tax dollars that we are spending are moving Pennsylvania forward.”
Representative Rich Irvin
81st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman