Hess Says House Democrats' Budget is Irresponsible By Calling for Higher Taxes
Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon) today voted against the House Democrats’ $29.1 billion spending plan for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The measure calls for an additional $300 million in spending over what the governor requested, and would require a massive tax increase to balance it.
In addition, the plan provides zero funding for higher education, including the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees the 14 state-owned universities, including Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University of Pennsylvania; the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Association (PHEAA), which provides state grants to college students; the 14 community colleges throughout the Commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College; and the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster County.
House Republicans offered a balanced, no-tax increase budget, which would have set spending at $27.3 billion and provided full funding for higher education. Unfortunately, the measure failed in the House Thursday with all Democrats voting against it.
In addition, the governor and House Democrats have claimed the House Republican proposal would have cut funding to school districts in the 78th Legislative District. This claim is wrong; in fact, the House Republican plan would have increased funding to local school districts on average by 6.2 percent over last year’s budget.  
Hess offered the following statement:
“It is despicable that the majority party in the House would pass a plan that provides no funding for higher education, would require a massive tax increase on the citizens of Pennsylvania and would further restrict economic recovery throughout the Commonwealth.
“The House Democrats’ unbalanced budget is fiscally irresponsible, especially since the General Assembly is constitutionally mandated to enact a balanced budget. The lack of leadership being shown by the majority party is indicative of its failure to produce a budget that protects the people of Pennsylvania.
“State employees are now facing reduced pay or payless paydays due to the actions of the majority party. Nearly 80,000 state employees are being held hostage by the governor and House Democrats for their failure to bring a resolution to this budget impasse. If people are working, they should be paid in full and on time.
“In the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, now is the worst time for state government to spend more and take more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. I stand opposed to increased spending and raising the tax burden on the citizens of Pennsylvania.”
Rep. Dick Hess
78th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(814) 623-9097
(717) 787-7076
Contact: Tim Eller
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 260-6242
Member site: DickHess.com
Caucus Site: PAHouseGop.com