Wolf’s ‘Pressure’ Causes Real Pain

Published December 3, 2015

After five months without a state budget, three failed tax hike plans, and two vetoed stop-gap plans, Gov. Wolf refuses to abandon his harmful strategy of holding children, abuse victims, and taxpayers hostage to demand higher taxes.

Low-income School children: Gov. Wolf is withholding scholarship tax credits under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), leaving many parents desperate for answers. Never mind that the ETIC is part of the tax code and unrelated to budget appropriations. Brittney’s op-ed in the York Daily Record explains the devastating impact this delay could have.

Calls for Wolf to act are hardly partisan. Democratic Senator Vincent Hughes and Republican Representative John Taylor both signed a letter pleading with the governor to release these funds.

Domestic Abuse Victims: Gov. Wolf cut off all funding—including federal—for domestic violence, forcing workers at shelters like Survivors Inc. in Adams County to turn away victims. Since July, the non-profit has turned away eight pregnant women and 153 children. At last, Wolf released some federal funds for these victims. His office claims they were unaware of their authority to release funds.

Taxpayers: While many state government services have stopped, tax collection has not. Gov. Wolf imposed a supposed “hiring freeze” in October, but ironically, since then the state has hired 3,132 workers! As for the travel ban instituted same month? A number of exceptions means state workers are still racking up travel expenses—funded by taxpayers.

The governor wasn’t kidding when he said, “I want to keep the pressure up,” but his pressure points are selective. Apparently, Wolf believes it’s fine to use taxpayer dollars to hire new workers and pay for state travel, but not to ensure abuse victims and schoolchildren get the help they need.

Nathan Benefield ([email protected]) is Vice President of Policy Analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation. Elizabeth Stelle ([email protected]) is Director of Policy Analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives.

An earlier version of this article appeared at http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/policyblog/detail/wolfs-pressure-causes-real-pain. Reprinted with permission.