Critics on Wolf's Budget Address

“It essentially said, ‘I’m up for reelection, so are you, let’s not do what we usually do.”’

Yesterday, Governor Wolf gave one of the shortest budget addresses in modern history containing barely any details on his proposed initiatives and members of the media were quick to point out his politically motivated rhetoric. Below is some of what they are saying:

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Baer:  “So, as Wolf offered arguably the dullest and possibly shortest (19-minute) budget address in modern state history, I’m thinking the Guv was thinking differently than he was speaking…

“Then he rapid-read through a speech, absent any hint of measured oratory, lift, or inspiration. It essentially said, ‘I’m up for reelection, so are you, let’s not do what we usually do.’…

“Oh, what a difference an election year makes. For example, unlike in past budget addresses, gone were calls for broad-based (income or sales) tax hikes. And, miracle of miracles, past dire warnings of economic collapse without new taxes, and a past admonition (2016 speech) that lawmakers get their act together or  ‘find another job’ also left the building…

“And substance? Very little. Mostly broad strokes. Wants more for education. A new program called PA Smart (because every new state program must be called PA-something) to ‘consolidate our workforce development efforts.’”  (Inquirer2/7/18)

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Editorial Board:  “Contained within his nearly $33 billion 2018 budget (about $990 million more than the current budget) are no sweeping initiatives, no income-tax boost to raise a political dust-up in an election year for Wolf, who’s seeking his second term. What we have, instead, is ‘Tom Wolf’s Greatest Hits.’” (TribLive, 2/6/18)

The Harrisburg Patriot’s John Micek: “In a workmanlike speech that was short on sweeping goals, peppered with boasts about his achievements, and shot through with jabs at the General Assembly, Wolf rolled out an election year budget that he no doubt hopes will help win him another four years in the top spot come November.” (PennLive, 2/6/18)

KYW’s Tony Romeo: “In a re-election year, Wolf’s budget address was largely devoted to his list of first term accomplishments. Otherwise, the governor spoke mostly in generalities about what he wants in his next budget.” (KYW, 2/6/18)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: “His speech —  nearly 20 minutes long —  was one of the shortest in recent memory and included nods to bipartisanship, a recognition that Wolf faces reelection and wants to avoid the broad tax-hike proposals that led to his prolonged battles with the Republican-controlled legislature in the last three years.” (Inquirer, 2/6/18)