Office Locations 
District Address Information
78 Main Street, 1st Floor
Bradford, PA 16701
Phone: 814-362-4400
Toll-Free:  1-866-437-8181
Fax:  814-362-4405
Hours:  Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed noon to 1 p.m. daily

107 South Main Street
Room 1
Coudersport, PA 16915
Phone: 814-274-9769
Hours:  Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed noon to 1 p.m. daily

55 Fraley Street
Kane, PA 16735
Phone: 814-837-0880
Fax: 814 837-2257
Hours:  Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed noon to 1 p.m. daily

Capitol Address Information
150 Main Capitol
PO Box 202067
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2067
Phone: 717-787-5075
Fax:  717-705-7021

Email Address
MCauser@PahouseGOP.com

Budget Stalemate is About Priorities, Not Politics
8/3/2015
When I talk to people about the state budget and the current stalemate, many of them voice frustration over what they see as a partisan political battle. While I understand their frustrations, I want to be clear that this budget stalemate is not about politics. It’s about priorities.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a budget in March that would increase state spending by nearly $5 billion. His plan would be funded entirely by higher taxes, including a 20 percent increase in the state income tax, a 10 percent increase in the sales tax rate and a significant expansion of the products and services subject to the sales tax.

Clearly, the governor’s priority is a bigger government that spends more and taxes more.

On June 30, the General Assembly adopted a state budget that increases investments in public education, human services and public safety. In fact, the proposal includes the highest state investment ever in K-12 public education, and it does so without imposing any new or increased taxes.

Our priority is a smaller government that spends less and taxes less while still funding the core functions of government.

The governor vetoed our budget because it didn’t tax enough or spend enough (though nearly two-thirds of the line items in our budget met or exceeded the governor’s plan).

The state House – both Republicans and Democrats – unanimously rejected the governor’s $5 billion tax plan in early June because the vast majority of the people we represent don’t want and can’t afford a $5 billion tax increase this year, or the more than $8 billion increase next year.

But despite the unanimous vote against his plan, even by members of his own political party, and despite a report by the non-partisan Independent Fiscal Office that finds ALL income groups would pay more in taxes under his plan, the governor has not moved away from his tax-and-spend priorities even a little bit.

Republicans are certainly willing to negotiate with the governor to achieve some of our shared goals, including more funding for education. But to reach a compromise, each side must start from a reasonable position. A $5 billion increase in taxes this year, and $8 billion next year, simply isn’t reasonable. Until the governor is willing to shift his priorities away from such a massive tax increase, I’m not optimistic about seeing a budget agreement any time soon.

And it’s not just about how much the governor wants to increase taxes. It’s also about how he plans to spend the money generated by the tax hikes.

The governor would use a portion of his new tax revenue to invest an additional $500 million in funding for public schools, but nearly one-third of that would go exclusively to the Philadelphia School District. I think we can agree we’d like all Pennsylvania students to have the opportunity to succeed in school, but we already spend nearly $1 billion annually on the Philadelphia schools. When will it be enough?

The governor would use a portion of his new tax revenue to provide some level of school property tax relief for homeowners. I think we can agree property taxes are burdensome for many homeowners, but a House Appropriations Committee analysis indicates taxpayers in 80 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts will pay more in new sales and income taxes than they would ever see in “relief.”

For as much as the governor says he wants to impose a natural gas severance tax to fund education, his own proposal directs the funding to things like supporting additional state regulators, providing “economic development” grants and making annual debt payments for massive borrowing to fund wind and solar energy projects…not education. It’s also worth noting the severance tax he claims will “fix” the budget represents just 3 cents of every new dollar he would collect in taxes.

These are the things the governor isn’t talking about when he asks the people of Pennsylvania to support his priorities. Just like he never talks about increasing the state income tax rate by 20 percent from 3.07 percent to 3.7 percent, which will impact both families and small business owners. Just like he never talks about increasing the sales tax rate by 10 percent from 6 percent to 6.6 percent and applying it to hundreds of additional products and services, from diapers to caskets and day care to long-term care, as well as college fees and textbooks, and legal services and real estate services.

Pennsylvanians deserve better than the far-reaching tax hikes the governor is pushing. They deserve a budget that respects their own financial situation. And they deserve a governor that will tell them the WHOLE truth about his tax-and-spend priorities.

Representative Martin T. Causer
67th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler
717.772.9846
phippler@pahousegop.com
RepCauser.com / Facebook.com/RepCauser
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