Contact Information 

District Offices
Tiadaghton Valley Mall
Room 105
701 Allegheny Street, Box 4
Jersey Shore, PA 17740
(570) 398-4476

Closed for lunch: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Penn Hills Plaza, Halls Station
21 Kristi Road
Suite 1
Muncy, PA 17756
(570) 546-2084

Closed for lunch: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Capitol Office
Hon. Garth Everett
401 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202084
Harrisburg PA 17120-2084
(717) 787-5270
Fax: (717) 772-9958

E-Mail:  
geverett@pahousegop.com

House Passes a Budget That Makes Sense for Pennsylvania
7/9/2015
Recently, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed a General Fund budget which fully meets the many responsibilities of our state government without raising taxes on the working people and retirees of the Commonwealth. It increases preK-12 education spending by $370 million to a record $11 billion, including an increase of $25 million for pre-K programs alone.

We now know that the governor has vetoed the budget. With that, let me share some of the history of this with you.

Among many, many other vital programs and services, the new budget also increases spending for health and human services; drug and alcohol programs; rural access hospitals like Jersey Shore and Muncy; environmental programs and state parks and forests; and adds $2 million to the appropriation for the Pennsylvania College of Technology. It also reverses the governor’s proposed cuts to agriculture programs and research. And remember, all this is done without raising any taxes on anyone or anything in Pennsylvania.

This is in stark contrast to the governor’s proposed budget, which would increase our sales tax by 40 percent and income tax by 21 percent, by far the largest tax increase in Pennsylvania history. The governor’s proposal would also have imposed a tax on natural gas extraction, which would put at risk the hundreds of millions of dollars that have come into Lycoming and other gas-producing counties from the existing natural gas impact fee. Not only would we lose tens of millions of dollars locally, but the governor’s proposed tax, at current natural gas prices, would amount in many cases to a 20 percent tax – more than five times the national average. There is no doubt a tax of this magnitude would drive future drilling and development to other natural gas-producing areas and take hundreds of thousands great paying jobs out of Pennsylvania.

The budget we passed and sent to the governor is a budget that works for Pennsylvania – it fairly funds economic and community development; prisons and probation; senior citizens and children; individuals in long-term care in nursing homes; deserving folks with intellectual and physical disabilities; State System of Higher Education; preK-12 education; institutions of higher education; a myriad of health and human services programs; Department of Agriculture and the full range of environmental and conservation programs. As I stated before, it does all this without any increase in taxes.

I believe this to be a very responsible budget which reflects the fiscal realities of the Commonwealth. While it would be great if we could spend some more here or some more there – the fact remains – you cannot spend what you do not have, and I do not feel that now is the time for me to ask my constituents and the good citizens of the Commonwealth to pay more taxes so state government can spend more money.

During the negotiations prior to the passage of the budget bill, the governor refused to concede on any of his demands for higher taxes and more spending – so the General Assembly had no choice but go it alone and craft a budget that we feel will meets the needs and priorities of our urban, suburban and rural communities across the Commonwealth. It is unfortunate that the governor continues to be in “campaign mode” with his TV ads, mailers and press conferences and has not buckled down to the hard business of negotiation and compromise. We recognize that he got elected and as governor has a say in this process. He, however, needs to recognize that we in the General Assembly also got elected and increased our majorities in both the House and Senate significantly and that we each have our own priorities and constituencies to represent.

We have placed a budget on the governor’s desk that funds every aspect of our General Fund budget adequately without raising taxes. It may not be exactly what the governor wants, nor is it exactly what I would want if I could write the budget by myself. However, nobody, not even the governor, gets exactly the budget one wants.

The governor had it within his power to sign this budget and keep our schools, government, social service and health agencies, and other government agencies open for business as usual. Instead, he chose, within a few hours of its passage and with no discussions with the leaders of the General Assembly, to veto it and send the Commonwealth into fiscal chaos with much harm to those who are the most vulnerable. Another option at his disposal was to accept the parts of the budget upon which there is agreement, which I estimate to be at least 75 percent of the line items in the budget, line out the portions upon which we really disagree and focus negotiations on resolving those contested issues.

Instead he chose to do what no governor in Pennsylvania has done for at least 40 years: reject and veto the budget sent to him by the General Assembly. He continues to operate in campaign mode and wage a war in the media rather than rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work with the General Assembly on the hard choices we face in crafting a budget that works for Pennsylvania – not just for the special interest groups who got him elected.

In closing, I will say that as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, coming up with a budget that matches our available state revenues with the many needs and wants of our large and diverse state has been a very challenging undertaking. I firmly believe we gave the governor a budget that balanced the state’s funding needs with fairness to the folks who pay the bills – our constituents who pay taxes.

If you agree with me, call the governor’s office at 717-787-2500, and tell him to resolve this crisis he has singlehandedly created. If you disagree, let me know. The best way to contact me is by email at geverett@pahousegop.com or by calling the district office at 570-546-2084.

Representative Garth D. Everett
84th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Raymond Smith
717.705.1834
rsmith@pahousegop.com
RepEverett.com / Facebook.com/RepEverett
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