Aument Urges Senate Leaders to Move Beyond “Budget Framework” and Resolve Budget Impasse

HARRISBURG – Senator Ryan Aument (R-Landisville) today sent a letter to Senate Republican Leadership urging them to work towards a budget plan that protects taxpayers and provides immediate relief to school districts, human service providers and all those who depend upon state and federal monies for continued operations.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the ‘budget framework’ has fallen apart again,” said Sen. Aument. “It is well past time to get state and federal monies flowing from the State Treasury.”

Sen. Aument noted that the tentative “budget framework” that was agreed to by Governor Wolf and leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives called for additional taxes to support significant spending increases, which was requested by the new Democrat Governor. In exchange, Republicans would gain the Governor’s support for public sector pension reform and some form of liquor privatization.

On Saturday, December 19th, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly rejected public sector pension reform. “There is no justifiable way to explain increasing taxes and spending if we are not controlling costs,” said Sen. Aument. “It’s time to put aside those issues which encapsulated the ‘budget framework’ and squarely focus on enacting a general appropriations bill, which is long overdue.”

In his letter to the Republican leaders, Sen. Aument noted that the people, through their elected representatives, have clearly taken the position public sector pension reform should not come at the expense of additional taxes to support more government spending.

“This has been the problem all along,” said Sen. Aument. “If the only way to solve longstanding financial problems like public sector pensions is to ‘buy’ the support of the Governor, Pennsylvania will be bankrupt before we actually solve any problems. These commonsense reforms and policies shouldn’t be held hostage so we can grow the size, scope and cost of state government.”

Senator Aument has been a strong supporter of public sector pension reform and has voted twice since joining the Senate for sweeping overhauls to the existing programs that have crippled state and school district budgets.

Sen. Aument also encouraged the Republican leaders to craft a revised 2015-16 state budget, set apart of the “budget framework,” or support the enactment of a stopgap funding mechanism. He told the Senate leaders that further delay is unacceptable.

“The people should not be a victim to any Governor who would try to capitalize on divided government. While there are genuine disagreements between the General Assembly and the Governor, it is unconscionable that anyone would put people, schools or other critical services in harm’s way for more taxes,” said Sen. Aument.

Sen. Aument concluded his letter to the Republican leaders by encouraging them to advocate for an agenda in 2016 that focuses on state policies that build a stronger Pennsylvania by promoting individual freedom, strong families, vibrant communities, high quality schools and the free enterprise system.

“We can create a society where everyone has opportunity,” said Sen. Aument. “That is why I came to Harrisburg, not to raise taxes on working people and small businesses and promote unaccountable spending.”

CONTACT: Jake Smeltz, (717) 787-4420