HARRISBURG, June 30, 2015 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today released the following statement regarding the party-line passage of the Republican-crafted 2015-16 state budget:

photo“The budget that was forced to Governor Wolf’s desk by members of the Senate and House Republican majorities is an affront to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf and legislative Democrats have been persistent in seeking a seat at the table – trying to work with our colleagues across the aisle to find a fair and proper middle ground that would be fiscally responsible while addressing our significant structural deficit. For the fifth consecutive year, Republican leaders in Harrisburg have locked us out of honest budget negotiations and, in so doing, have politicized the state budget process and have advanced dishonest numbers.”

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“This budget continues to position our state as the only one in the nation with a significant supply of natural gas that does not levy a reasonable severance tax to compensate our citizens for the volume of natural gas extracted. The GOP budget also completely ignored bipartisan plans in both houses of the General Assembly – as well as a plan by Governor Wolf – to provide significant school property tax relief to citizens across our state. The GOP budget has disregarded many sound proposals originating outside of their party and it ignored many of the priorities of Pennsylvanians who want their schools properly funded by the state; who want fair and responsible tax policy; and who want job growth in this state.”

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“Pennsylvanians get better government when they get balanced government – when the voices of the majority and the minority join to ensure the best future for our communities, our schools and our citizens. It is my sincere hope that once the dust settles and the Governor rightly vetoes this politically-motivated budget, we can get back to work on an authentic spending plan that reflects the priorities of all Pennsylvanians.”

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