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Hon. Brad Roae
151 East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902

E-mail:
  broae@pahousegop.com

Roae Votes for Responsible Budget Approved by House
6/30/2013

HARRISBURG – Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) today voted for a $28.376 billion state budget bill approved by the state House that will fund core government functions without raising taxes on Pennsylvanians.

“This budget protects Pennsylvania taxpayers while providing the dollars necessary to fund the core functions of state government,” Roae said.  “By avoiding a tax increase, we are putting taxpayers ahead of the special interest groups that lobby the General Assembly for more and more funding every year without regard for fiscal realities.”

The budget bill will provide the largest amount of state funding for kindergarten through 12th-grade education in the Commonwealth’s history.  Approximately 41 percent – or $11.6 billion – of the total budget would go to support education and higher education.

“We are investing in our schools without bankrupting taxpayers or the Commonwealth,” Roae said.  “When people complain about education funding cuts, they are talking about federal dollars.  The federal government sent stimulus dollars to the state for education in the past.  Those revenues have dried up.  It simply would not be right to expect state taxpayers to make up for the funding cuts of the federal government.  It’s also important to note that those federal dollars were borrowed and will have to be paid back with interest.”

The Legislature was considering, but did not pass, several other initiatives in conjunction with the budget.  Roae was pleased with the outcome in two instances, but disappointed with another.

Some lawmakers wanted to expand Medicaid – a joint health care program funded by the Commonwealth and the federal government – as part of the budget negotiations.  Roae and a group of his fiscally conservative colleagues took a stand against the expansion, which would lock the Commonwealth into ever-increasing health care costs for years to come.

“We spend approximately one-fourth of the state budget to provide health care for one out of every six people in Pennsylvania,” Roae said.  “Expanding government health care and the costs that go with that expansion would be irresponsible.  I am pleased we were able to take this step to protect taxpayers.”

The budget also was not accompanied by legislation to raise a tax that affects the price of gasoline in Pennsylvania, something that was floating around the Capitol as a possibility just hours before the final budget vote was taken.

“We already have one of the highest gas taxes in the nation here in Pennsylvania,” Raoe said.  “Drivers simply could not afford to pay more right now.  I was especially concerned that a large chunk of money in the transportation funding proposal was earmarked to fund mass transit systems in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  I don’t believe people in Erie and Crawford counties should be further subsidizing bus rides in those two big cities.”

Roae was disappointed by the fact that the budget legislation was not accompanied by a bill to address the Commonwealth’s lingering public pension problem.  Projections show the state’s two public pension plans – one for state workers, and the other for teachers and other school officials – have an unfunded liability of approximately $47 billion, meaning expected benefits are anticipated to outweigh expected revenues by that large gap.

“Public pensions will continue to eat up a larger and larger part of the state budget until we enact some meaningful reforms,” Roae said.  “For the sake of Pennsylvania taxpayers, this is an issue that we need to work to address in the future.”

The budget bill now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Representative Brad Roae
6th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845
dmassing@pahousegop.com
RepRoae.com / Facebook.com/RepRoae
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