OP-ED: Grove urges Democrats to help GOP break Wolf veto
As we are now in the month of October, Pennsylvania's budget impasse has now reached a disturbing new milestone. Two weeks ago should have marked the beginning of the 2016-17 budget process. Traditionally, on Oct. 1, the Governor's Office requests each department to begin a review of their budget and overall expenses for the next fiscal year. Then in December, the governor's budget office would conduct a midyear review to examine current revenue projections and expenses from the 2015-16 budget.
In February, the governor will be addressing the General Assembly, using information from the midyear review, and will outline his priorities for the 2016-17 budget.
Yes, that is correct; we are five months away from the governor giving his 2016-17 budget address. Enough is enough. It is time for members of the General Assembly to realize we will not accomplish a budget with this governor. After the bipartisan defeat of his latest tax package, the governor in his post vote press conference said, in effect, he did not plan to withdraw his proposals for higher taxes on income and gas drilling and might even bring back his idea of a higher sales tax.
For me, and I think for any rational Pennsylvanian, the governor is not negotiating in reality. This was the second time his tax package was voted down by a bipartisan vote and yet he ignores the 102-26-1 reality of governing. To get anything accomplished, you need 102 votes in the House, 26 votes in the Senate and the governor to sign it. Right now, he is a man of 1.
There is another set of numbers which can accomplish a budget: 135 and 33. That is a two-third vote of the General Assembly to override a governor's veto. It is now time for the members of General Assembly, Republicans and Democrats, senators and representatives to forge ahead with a veto-proof budget for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians cannot afford any more pain and suffering from the governor's continued budget impasse.
I urge my Democratic colleagues who are interested in ending this months-long impasse to please contact the House and Senate Republican leadership. On behalf of your constituents, your nonprofits and your school districts, we must work together to ensure the agony of this impasse does not continue. I know together we can craft a no tax increase budget of which Pennsylvanians can be proud, but it will take courage, communication and a willingness to do the right thing.