Gov. Tom Wolf made no bones about it. Speaking at the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon Monday, he said the budget framework announced just a few short weeks ago is in serious jeopardy.
"Unfortunately, that work looks it is in peril. Deep peril," he said. "The Republicans have been unable to muster the votes they need to transform this agreed-upon framework into a real budget."
The votes he was talking about concern the component of the framework that would raise the state sales tax an additional 1.25 percent across the Commonwealth, to be dedicated to providing property tax relief to homeowners and farmers.
As part of that exchange, the property tax and rent rebate program currently in place using gaming revenues for funding would be eliminated, and the gaming funds—to the tune of $600 million—would be dedicated to the General Fund to offset rising public pension costs.
"[L]ate last week Republican leaders told me that they didn’t have the votes to deliver on property tax relief," he said. "In other words, the framework was not going to become a budget. I deeply regret this. We had within our grasp a budget framework that would have been transformational."