— Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) issued the following statement in response to the $45.55 billion Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget that the House passed Wednesday evening:
“I am very disappointed in what has transpired at the Capitol over the past two weeks. Harrisburg is more of a dysfunctional mess than ever before. I thought things would be different under Gov. Josh Shapiro. Unfortunately, it has actually gotten worse. Last week, I had high hopes that the budget would be completed. Instead, the governor reneged on the deal he had brokered with the Senate and announced this week he would line-item veto a $100 million voucher plan that was a key component of the budget agreement while keeping all of his budget requests in the budget.
“One of the reasons I voted ‘no’ on the budget was due to Shapiro’s dishonesty. I had hoped enough of my colleagues would have joined me to force everyone back to the table to renegotiate from scratch. While this did not occur, the Senate has declined to come back into session to sign the budget bill, so it remains in purgatory and cannot be sent to the governor for action. No one trusts anyone anymore. I don’t know how we regain the trust as the one thing the budget is always built on is all parties’ word.
“Another reason I registered a negative vote was we need to get our budget in line. We should only be spending what we bring in at most. This budget does not do that. It is raiding the kitchen cupboards and setting us up for problems in the near future. I see history repeating itself. Former Gov. Ed Rendell spent surplus money and drained the Rainy Day Fund. A recession then hit near the end of his tenure, and a ‘temporary’ Personal Income Tax increase was enacted. That ‘temporary tax’ is still being collected today. Like the Rendell years, it is predicted we are heading toward another recession. Since I was elected nine years ago, we have almost doubled our spending. This is not sustainable. We are losing population. We need long-term planning, not year-to-year. Unfortunately, without any current session days planned, it appears this budget stalemate will continue at least through September.”
For more information on the Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget, visit pahousegop.com
The 46th Legislative District includes South Fayette Township and McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Cecil, Chartiers, Mt. Pleasant and North Strabane (Districts 6,7,8 and 9) townships and Canonsburg, Houston and McDonald boroughs in Washington County.