Governor Presents 2019-20 Budget Vision to Lawmakers

By on February 15, 2019

Steve Mentzer

By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)

Last Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf presented his budget proposal for the 2019-2020 budget cycle to a joint session of the General Assembly. Wolf’s $34.15 billion spending plan is an increase of $927 million over the current enacted budget.

In his proposal, Wolf is asking for Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to be increased to $12 an hour, and then increasing the wage in 50 cent increments until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025. The move would include tipped workers.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, like the federal level is currently $7.25 an hour, it was last increased in 2009.

I was pleased to hear the governor mention agriculture in this budget address. Our state budget should contain items that properly recognize agriculture as the state’s No. 1 economic driver. This is especially important for Lancaster County.

I was also encouraged to hear the governor is now joining us in supporting workforce development with career and technical education (CTE). Improving the business climate to create good-paying jobs and training workers to fill those positions will increase tax receipts far more than straining small business with a minimum wage increase. Last year, Wolf vetoed a bill to make it easier for CTE programs to open, so I hope he has had a change of heart on this.

Another issue Wolf addressed was education. I have no problem supporting our students, but any new money must go to the students, not special interest lobbying efforts. Again, this is an area in which the General Assembly has taken the lead.

In the first three years of the Wolf Administration, Republicans added $1.57 billion in PreK-12 education, and last year alone we added $466 million. In fact, since the people elected us to the majority in 2011, we have added $3.4 billion to education.

With Tuesday’s speech, the governor officially started the budget process. Gov. Wolf laid out his vision for the Commonwealth and now the House must get to work putting together a plan that can pass both chambers of the General Assembly by the June 30th deadline.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *