Sen. Aument Votes to Finish 2015-16 State Budget


Says Schools, Hospitals, Agriculture Need Help Now

HARRISBURG – Senator Ryan Aument (R-Landisville) today voted for House Bill 1801, a supplemental spending bill that would appropriate an additional $6.05 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which would fully fund the remaining components of the state budget that remain unfunded following a veto issued by Governor Wolf on December 27, 2015.

“The political gamesmanship must end,” said Sen. Aument. “This supplemental appropriation will guarantee that no school shuts down, that no prison opens its doors because of lack of funding, that critical access hospitals and burn centers will continue operations, and that the devastating cuts made to agriculture programs and services are restored.”

The incomplete 2015-16 state budget is entering its ninth month.

After a prolonged impasse in which state government operations had no lawful appropriations, the General Assembly sent Governor Wolf a budget that increased spending by 3.7% on December 23, 2015. Several days later the Governor signed Act 10-A into law, however he also exercised his line-item veto authority to reduce or eliminate approximately $6 billion in spending.

“My vote today affirms my commitment to the people of the 36th Senatorial District to fully fund their state government without unnecessarily increasing their personal income or sales taxes,” said Sen. Aument.

With the restoration of vetoed monies under House Bill 1801, the 2015-16 state budget would spend $30.031 billion, a $872.6 million, or 3%, increase over 2014-15 levels.

Basic education spending would increase $200 million, taking the Commonwealth’s investment for public schools to its highest levels ever, a record $5.93 billion. These new monies for education would be driven out under the bipartisan basic and special education funding formulas.

The legislation also restores funding for the Department of Agriculture, whose budget was reduced by 65% under Governor Wolf’s veto. Funding cuts to community colleges, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and state-related universities would also be reversed.

“While there may be genuine disagreements over how much more money government programs and services deserve, we should all agree that no funding is not the answer,” said Sen. Aument. “Putting schools, hospitals, farmers and others in harm’s way to leverage for more taxes and additional spending is not just inappropriate, it is costly and dangerous,” noted Sen. Aument.

Sen. Aument said he is hopeful that Governor Wolf will either sign House Bill 1801 into law or allow the measure to become law without his signature.

“People need to know that it takes 129 people to make a law, including a majority of the members of the House of Representatives (102), a majority of the members of the Senate (26) and the Governor (1). To date, 128 out of the 129 people have agreed to fund state government.

“I encourage Governor Wolf to join the majority of the General Assembly and the people of Pennsylvania and end this impasse and the threat it has created to our schools, agriculture, prisons, hospitals and health programs.”

Today’s vote marks at least the fifth time Sen. Aument has joined a majority of members of the General Assembly to fully fund the 2015-16 state budget. “I will vote and vote again to get the tax dollars that are stuck in our State Treasury to the schools, programs and people who have had to endure an intolerable situation,” said the Senator.


CONTACT: Jake Smeltz, (717) 787-4420