The key questions to ask about any stop-gap budget are going to be “does it extend the Tom Corbett budget?” and “is there agreement on a new framework” that will be embodied in the stop-gap?
A stop-gap that extends the Corbett budget is just a political bailout for Republican leadership, and Tom Wolf appears to agree with that.
He’s saying all the right things here. Basically, no artificial time-frame for coming to an agreement, no ceding of ground on his core priorities, and crucially, no extension of the Corbett budget:
The first-term governor said during a regular appearance on Pittsburgh
radio station KDKA-AM that he would sign a “reasonable” stopgap
spending plan. But he went on to say that he had no date in mind by
when he would feel compelled to sign a short-term spending plan to
speed funding to school districts and an array of safety-net services
and that he would sign such a plan only if he already had a general
budget agreement with lawmakers.
“I think if we get to a point where we have a general agreement on
what the budget looks like and it’s going to take some time to
actually get the details in place, I’d be for a stopgap there, but
only in that case — not as something that’s put out there as an
alternative to a budget or something that’s sort of a feel-good
gesture,” Wolf said. “This is a fight we’re in, and it’s a good fight,
and we ought to fight it and make sure that we get to a good place for
Pennsylvania, and let’s not settle just for any old thing that caters
to the real inconveniences that we’re facing right now.”
Asked if he would sign the Republicans’ short-term spending plan, he
said he did not know what is in it and would have to see what the
“I think what we need is a budget, that’s what I’m working for,” Wolf
said. “A real budget, a budget that is balanced, a budget that has a
severance tax, a budget that invests in education, a budget that has
property tax relief. That’s what the people of Pennsylvania want.
That’s what I’m working for.”
No, we’re not all to blame. We can have a budget this week if Republican leadership will free southeast and south central suburban Republicans to negotiate with the Democrats. As long as Democrats like Matzie can resist the urge to bail out Republican leadership, the pressure from stakeholders who need the state funding will become so great that they’ll have to abandon the “majority of the majority” trick that’s keeping the far right of the Republican caucus in the driver’s seat, and a deal from getting passed.