McGinnis: The Top 10 Reasons I Voted “NAY” on the 2016-17 Budget Bill
HARRISBURG – Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair) today cast a no vote on the Commonwealth’s General Fund budget plan for fiscal year 2016-17. The proposal was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 132-68.
McGinnis issued the following statement regarding the legislation:
“Here are the top 10 reasons I voted ‘NAY’ on the budget:
“No. 10 Increased revenues from tobacco taxes are inherently unfair because we are asking a small and relatively poor number of citizens to contribute to the general expenses of the Commonwealth.
“No. 9 Revenues from tax amnesty and gaming are highly unreliable, and it is improper to cover the expenses of necessary government functions with uncertain sources.
“No. 8 Running a budget with recurring expenses and non-recurring revenues is perpetuating and aggravating the ‘structural deficit’ problem.
“No. 7 The budget was available for full review to rank-and-file members on Monday night and the vote was Tuesday afternoon – not exactly much time for due diligence.
“No. 6 The accompanying code bills (the spending instructions) were unavailable for review before the budget vote.
“No. 5 Tax votes necessary to fund the budget were scheduled AFTER the budget vote.
“No. 4 The 6 percent increase in education funding is good money after bad. Spending per pupil is up nearly 50 percent net of inflation over the past 20 years without any significant improvement in student performance. We are clearly not living up to the constitutional requirement for an ‘efficient system of public education
“No. 3 The 6 percent increase in funding for the Legislature is indefensible, as we should be leading by example on fiscal discipline.
“No. 2 The 4.8 percent increase in overall spending includes unwarranted increases in discretionary expenses, well in excess of population growth and inflation. McGinnis’s First Law of Taxation: It’s the spending, stupid! If you spend a dollar you must tax a dollar, and this is a budget that says taxpayers are NOT doing enough. I reject that claim.
“No. 1 The budget is unbalanced as it has insufficient pension contributions to keep the pension debt from growing, and that is unconstitutional.”
The legislation, Senate Bill 1073, sets total state spending at $31.55 billion, which is $1.49 billion, or 4.8 percent, more than the current fiscal year. The budget plan does not call for any new or increased income or sales taxes.
The proposal raises new, recurring revenues from a mix of sources, including increased taxes on tobacco products, reforms to the liquor sales system, expanded gaming and a tax amnesty program. The bill now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.
Representative John McGinnis
79th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs