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More vetoes in PA Budget stalemate

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - Lawmakers are heading into the holiday weekend with little progress on passing a new budget. But the Governor did veto three more budget-related bills on Thursday, before the legislature closed for the 4th of July holiday.

Governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoed Senate Bill 655 on the Fiscal Code, House Bill 762 on the School Code, and House Bill 466 which would have privatized the state liquor system.

The governor says he vetoed the Republican-backed bill to privatize liquor because the liquor stores are an asset for the state that shouldn't be sold off.

"It makes bad business sense for the Commonwealth and consumers to sell off an asset, especially before maximizing its value," Wolf says in a statement. "During consideration of this legislation, it became abundantly clear that this plan would result in higher prices for consumers."

But conservative analysts at the Commonwealth Foundation say this opposes what most people want.

"They want to see greater convenience, greater selection, lower prices, and greater choices, the governor has decided he's going to veto that and stand with special interests," says Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation.

"Throughout the debate regarding Pennsylvania’s liquor laws over the past several years, my goal has been to support proposals to improve convenience for customers," says Senator Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks County). "The governor has indicated a willingness to consider limited measures to modernize the system, and I expect similar legislative proposals to be considered by the committee in the months to come."

The education bill vetoed by the governor would have increased education by $8 million, and he says that's not enough to restore cuts from the past four years.

"This bill only distributes an additional $8 million into K-12 education, which is not adequate classroom support for the children of this Commonwealth," Wolf says in a statement. "Simply stated, it fails to meet our constitutionally required obligation of providing a thorough and efficient system of education."

The next budget meeting is scheduled for Monday.