Gov. Wolf gives him­self too much credit

The Phoenix - - OPINION - By Rep. Bryan Cut­ler, R-100th Dist. Rep. Bryan Cut­ler is the Re­pub­li­can Whip in the Penn­syl­va­nia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

With Penn­syl­va­nia’s sole gu­ber­na­to­rial de­bate hav­ing come and gone, most peo­ple are likely won­der­ing what state­ments be­ing made are true or false.

Fact check­ing is al­ways an im­por­tant step in the po­lit­i­cal process, which is on­go­ing around the Com­mon­wealth.

The gov­er­nor and his cam­paign are high­light­ing as many pos­i­tives that oc­curred dur­ing his term in of­fice as they can. They should, as things are le­git­i­mately bet­ter to­day than two and three years ago.

How­ever, it’s im­por­tant for Penn­syl­va­ni­ans to know how these ac­com­plish­ments truly came to pass.

There is no question the gov­er­nor plays a role in the leg­isla­tive process by ei­ther sign­ing or ve­to­ing a bill once it has passed both cham­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture.

If the gov­er­nor fails to take ei­ther ac­tion, the bill lapses into law af­ter 10 days.

All told, this gov­er­nor al­lowed 21 bills to be­come law with­out his ap­proval.

The 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 bud­gets be­came law over the ob­jec­tions of the gov­er­nor, and each sub­stan­tially in­creased the fund­ing for our stu­dents and schools ($1.5 bil­lion in new school fund­ing in fact).

Now, the gov­er­nor is falsely claim­ing credit for in­creases in ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing over the years AND the leg­isla­tive di­rec­tive to de­posit $22 mil­lion into the Rainy Day Fund — the first such de­posit since 2006.

The facts are sim­ple. Dur­ing his term in of­fice, Gov. Wolf’s pro­posed solution to all of Penn­syl­va­nia’s prob­lems was and is to ask Penn­syl­va­ni­ans for more of their money.

Gov. Wolf pro­posed tax in­crease af­ter tax in­crease, ev­ery time soundly re­jected by a ma­jor­ity of House Repub­li­cans and Democrats.

In 2015, Gov. Wolf asked for what would equal $12.5 bil­lion in new or in­creased taxes on ev­ery man, woman, child and em­ployer… he pushed for lit­er­ally cra­dle to grave tax­a­tion.

He pushed for ap­ply­ing the sales tax to nurs­ing homes, col­lege meal plans and fees, news­pa­pers, cas­kets and di­a­pers.

If his 2015 plan hadn’t been voted down in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by a re­sound­ing 0-193 vote, a fam­ily of four would have been pay­ing an ad­di­tional $2,500 an­nu­ally to the state. That is what the “2015 Im­passe” was about.

He said taxes were the only way, but House Repub­li­cans found a bet­ter way by stand­ing up for tax­pay­ers. This meant no broad-based tax in­creases on work­ing Penn­syl­va­ni­ans or em­ploy­ers and not spend­ing out­side of our means.

Re­gard­less of who was gov­er­nor, the Leg­is­la­ture has pri­or­i­tized ed­u­ca­tion in our bud­get process.

The Leg­is­la­ture in­creased money for our schools year af­ter year, bring­ing us to to­day’s his­toric lev­els.

The fact re­mains that this year’s bud­get is the only one with a “Tom Wolf” sig­na­ture, so while his cam­paign can claim how much he did, Penn­syl­va­ni­ans should know the fac­tual story.

The Leg­is­la­ture in­creased school dol­lars with­out ma­jor tax in­creases and gave Penn­syl­va­nia the abil­ity, for the first time since 2006, to de­posit a sur­plus into the Rainy Day Fund through con­trolled spend­ing.

While Gov. Wolf al­lowed 21 bills to be­come law with­out his sig­na­ture in just un­der four years (more than any other gov­er­nor in nearly 40 years),

The re­al­ity is, the main ac­com­plish­ments of the last four years have been driven by Repub­li­cans: elim­i­nat­ing a deficit of more than $2 bil­lion WITH­OUT rais­ing in­come or sales taxes, in­vest­ing in the Rainy Day Fund for the first time in a decade, re­struc­tur­ing the pub­lic pen­sion sys­tem, au­tho­riz­ing wine and beer sales in gro­cery and con­ve­nience stores, re­form­ing the Un­em­ploy­ment Com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem, in­sti­tut­ing lob­by­ist re­form and much more.

It is im­por­tant to con­trast what the gov­er­nor is say­ing dur­ing this short cam­paign sea­son with his ac­tions in the prior three years.

I am proud to work with mem­bers of both par­ties and all branches of gov­ern­ment on these achieve­ments, but the fact re­mains it was the House and Se­nate Repub­li­cans who led over the last four years.

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