Pa. House approves GOP budget proposal

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - State House Republicans are defying a veto threat from Governor Tom Wolf, pushing through a $30 billion budget proposal along a party line vote on Saturday.

“I don't think there's a reason why the governor can't vote for a no tax increase budget that puts billions of dollars into education as well as funding the priorities of what Pennsylvania residents have wanted in a budget,” Rep. Seth Grove, (R) – York County, said.

But Democrats say the GOP's proposal inflates the state's deficit, currently at $1.2 billion, to more than $3.1 billion by the next fiscal year.

“The old Nat King Cole song about ‘Unforgettable, that's what you are,’ you know, if he was singing a song about this budget, it would be ‘Unsustainable, that's what it is,’” Rep. Joe Markosek, (D) – Allegheny, said.

Republicans are looking to privatize liquor sales and bring pension reform, namely a defined contribution system for new state employees.

“For legislators, effective upon re-election, we're in that system, so we're leading on the front on pension reform to make sure our pension plans are the same exact as new hires coming into the system,” Grove said.

Democrats said Saturday they are prepared to stand with the governor on his threat to veto, citing court rulings that allowed essential state functions to continue if a budget is not approved by June 30th.

“We have not had any push back from our members and I don't think we've heard any from Senate Democrats if he does in fact veto the entire package,” Rep. Michael Hanna, (D) – Clinton, said.

The proposed budget now goes to the Senate for its review, which will begin on Sunday. By law, they would have to wait until Tuesday to approve it, which also happens to be the deadline.