HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s state budget is now in the hands of lawmakers. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf gave his annual budget address on Wednesday morning.
Some Republicans say it’s a non-starter.READ MORE: Some Philadelphia Students Set To Return To Classroom Monday For First Time In Nearly A Year
“To ask for more out of the pockets of Pennsylvanians is going to be an extraordinarily heavy lift that I don’t see how he thinks there are enough votes in Harrisburg to get that done,” Republican Rep. Martina White said.
White says she is unimpressed by the governor’s nearly $38 billion budget.
“My initial reaction was Gov. Wolf wants Pennsylvanians to pay up,” White said.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor delivered a 20-minute long taped and produced address. It’s the first time in a century a governor didn’t address lawmakers in the state capitol.
“Let’s stop with the excuses, let’s move beyond the chronic timidity,” Wolf said. “Let’s do something. Let’s lift those barriers and stop making excuses for why we can’t.”
The governor is proposing raising personal income taxes on higher earners, but the taxes would be lowered for single people making less than $49,000 per year and married couples making less than $64,000 per year. The move is estimated to raise more than $3 billion per year.
“We need to stop asking working families to pay the same tax rate as my family does,” Wolf said. “I want to help working families get ahead by reducing their taxes.”READ MORE: Philly Police Identify Suspect, Edward Prince, Wanted In Fatal Hit-And-Run That Dragged 60-Year-Old Feet Nearly 300 Feet
The budget also includes raising the commonwealth’s minimum wage to $12 per hour on July 1. It will increase steadily to $15 per hour by 2027. The plan also includes increased funding for public schools.
White is the only Republican who represents Philadelphia in the statehouse. She says she can work with the governor on some funding proposals but says asking taxpayers to pay more during a pandemic is unacceptable.
“This is a huge red flag asking Pennsylvanians to pay up more money when they’re already going through so much over the past year,” White said.
The state legislature is controlled by Republicans, so there are some negotiations that will have to happen. Budget hearings begin next month. A finalized budget is due by July.
MORE ON CBSPHILLY.COMPolice Investigating ATM Robbery At Northeast Philadelphia Convenience Store