Gov. Wolf: “We needed to have that impasse, which was a catharsis”

Gov. Wolf: “We needed to have that impasse, which was a catharsis”

Author: Jason Gottesman/Friday, May 6, 2016/Categories: News and Views

Gov. Tom Wolf made an in-studio appearance on KDKA 1020AM’s morning show Friday, where in discussing the FY 2015-2016 budget impasse, he said the impasse was necessary in order to bring all players into a reality “in terms of what the state should be doing.”

“We couldn’t keep going down that same road where the state was not coming up with the funding that we should at the state level,” he said. “We needed to have that impasse, which was a catharsis, to try to shake ourselves into some sense or reality in terms of what the state should be doing.”

He said the situation that eventually led to the current budget’s implementation early this spring was “a temporary situation,” noting that the impasse was harmful to schools and other things he supported and hoped would see an increase in funding.

“It was painful for me to go through the period we went through last year where those were the institutions that were hurt the most because the impasse meant the state funding, however inadequate, wasn’t coming to them and they couldn’t plan because they didn’t know when it was coming through,” he said.

“That was absolutely appropriate, that was something that I did, that we did in Harrisburg and it did cause a lot of problems for schools,” he added, noting the hope was—and still is—a short-term problem and inconvenience would lead to a long-term solution.

Gov. Wolf stated he will continue to seek increases in education funding for the coming fiscal year and, since the amount he sought for the current year was not agreed to, he is hoping that more than the $200 million increase he asked for in his budget address will find its way into the FY 2016-2017 spending plan.

The sentiment that a repeat of ’15-’16 is not wanted was a constant tone from lawmakers this week who have a key role in the budget process.

“We cannot go through what we went through last time,” said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). “Nine months’ wait is simply not in the best interests of Pennsylvanians.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) also expressed concern about a repeat of the ’15-’16 impasse.

“I’m concerned about it, but I have confidence that we’re going to sit down and start working on it,” he said. “What the final result will be and what the date will be, I have no control over other than trying to get an agreement.”

Gov. Wolf also used the appearance Friday morning to discuss his “Government that Works” reform plan and indicated it’s a way to help restore faith in government.

“I hope that, in Pennsylvania at least, we’re working together across the party divide to build a government that the people of Pennsylvania do respect, because that’s something we need to work on in the United States,” he said.