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Governor Wolf, Republicans face impasse over budget shortfall, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the ongoing budget impasse between House Republicans and Governor Wolf. In this and our next post, we’ll take a brief look at some of the issues at stake in the dispute, and how mediation could potentially help to address the differences in objectives.  

First of all, Republicans proposed a plan which includes a budget increase of $1.15 billion but which does not increase any broad-based taxes for long-term deficits. Instead, the plan involves over $1 billion in one-time stop-gap coverage for long-term deficits. Included in the Republicans’ proposal is a $200 million increase in aid to public schools, early childhood education and universities. 

For his part, Governor Wolf wants a $2.6 billion increase in the budget, which amounts to 9 percent. The increase in aid to public schools, universities and early childhood education amounts to around $800 million. In addition, he wants to increase various taxes to come up with $4.6 billion. One aspect of his proposal would concede payments to a school construction fund, which would drop his budget proposal increase just over $300 million.

The big differences between Governor Wolf’s proposal and Republicans’ proposal are that Governor Wolf’s budget requires a larger increase in short-term funding as well as a plan for covering long-term deficits. In addition, more money is to be devoted to education in Wolf’s plan.

According to sources, neither party is giving a lot of wiggle room in terms of options, though Governor Wolf seems willing to trim back at least a bit on his proposed budget. Given the existing impasse, that clearly isn’t enough for Republicans.

In our next post, we’ll offer some commentary on what mediation might have to offer in this dispute.

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