In Tuesday's press conference addressing the PA budget, Governor Wolf spent considerable time attacking the GOP and even former Governor Tom Corbett with his "draconian Corbett budgets," but what draconian cuts is he accusing the former governor of making? During his campaign, Wolf accused Corbett of cutting $1 billion from education and his reference in Tuesday's press conference seemed to pick right up on the same theme. But is it true?
The website FactCheck.org looked into Wolf's claim, along with a similar accusation being made in the campaign in the state of Michigan:
The disparate claims in both states have similar roots. In both states, education funding was bolstered by a temporary infusion of federal economic stimulus dollars prior to the Republican governors taking office. When that federal funding dried up, schools got less, even as the state’s share of contributions to education increased. In addition, both states’ governors are paying more toward the education employees’ retirement system, translating to less state money actually going to classrooms.
In other words, when temporary federal dollars from the stimulus ran out, something out of the state's control, Wolf laid the blame on the former Governor and he's repeating this line of attack all over again. Even when the state had actually spent more on education, Wolf claimed Corbett had done the opposite. If Governor Wolf wants to complain about those stimulus dollars drying up, he should direct his wrath toward the Obama administration.
Wolf and fellow critics of those "cuts" respond by saying the state knew the federal money was temporary and they should have been prepared to make up the difference, but what they seem to forget is that the federal government can print money, the states can't. The only way the state could have made up the difference is with huge tax increases on residents and businesses. If those critics think increasing taxes is a great idea, they should plainly and proudly say so, though taxpayers may strongly disagree.
If our current governor is going to continue with this disingenuous line of reasoning, we are in for an even longer standoff and the current republican legislature is right to resist his attacks. It's also going to be very difficult to take the governor seriously when he makes any further claims about the budget. When he calls this budget "garbage" and an "exercise in stupidity," he appears to be more interested in petty politics than actually dealing with the state's finances.
We're long past the point of political posturing and by now the governor should know that, but his comments on the budget make it appear he's still running a political campaign. That's extremely disappointing. The taxpayers of Pennsylvania deserve better.