House Republican Leader Sam Smith (R-66) and Republican Appropriations Chairman Mario Civera (R-164) announced the House Republican Caucus' $27.27 billion, no-tax-increase budget proposal at a Harrisburg press conference.
From a press release issued by Smith's office:
"Pennsylvanians expect a balanced budget, and they can't afford more taxes. House Republicans are offering a plan which meets those expectations," Smith said. "House Democrats have gone from one extreme to the other, yet, despite the budget deadline having passed more than a week ago, they still haven’t brought a budget bill to the floor.
"As consequences mount without a budget, Republicans think the Democrats' approach is irresponsible."
The Republican's fiscally responsible alternative increases funding for public education and continues funding for state parks, hospitals and universities.
"Today, we're presenting a $27.27 billion budget with no tax increases that ensures each school district gets increased funding. It continues necessary government services and avoids the thousands of layoffs projected by the governor and House Democrats. The Republican priority has always been protecting public safety, human services and educating our kids ... our budget proposal accomplishes it."
To balance the budget in the face of declining revenues and a $3.2 billion deficit, House Republicans are proposing a tax amnesty program to collect an estimated $1.5 billion in back taxes, as well as leasing of state-owned lands for natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region.
"We have brought to the people of Pennsylvania a balanced and fiscally responsible spending plan that does not raise a single tax. The governor and House Democrats said it could not be done, and we are here today to show them it can," Civera said.
"This plan does what every family in the Commonwealth has to do every day – it budgets what we can afford. It protects the state's priorities like education and public safety, and it ensures we are prepared for what may lie ahead.
"I admit it does not come without some pain. There were a lot of tough decisions made in this budget. But we took leadership and did what needed to be done."