The 2018 election of Pennsylvania’s next governor is more than a year away, but one Republican aspirant has just demonstrated why he ought not to hold the office.
State Rep. Mike Turzai leads the House of Representatives as its Speaker.
But on July 18, Turzai walked out on budget negotiations with Senate Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf, rather than find a solution to the budget crisis that is largely of Turzai’s own making.
Turzai’s Republican caucus agreed in June to pass a spending budget of $32 billion — without also passing the companion bill that would raise the money to pay for that $32 billion.
“No new taxes!” Turzai is screaming.
That $32 billion budget is an increase of about 3 percent over the previous year’s budget. Turzai knew that.
So where is the “governance” in passing a spending bill that increases spending, but refusing to increase taxes to pay for that increase.
“Spend less!” is Turzai’s mantra. Pennsylvania should reduce its spending.
But Turzai led the House caucus into voting for a budget that includes increased spending. Now, he shrieks, “No new taxes!”
“Governing’ means “getting things done,” and coming to compromises with people who see things differently than you do.
To his credit, Gov. Wolf has grown up in that regard. When he first took office, Democrat Wolf insisted that Legislative Republicans had to enact his budget, or else.
They didn’t. Legislators do not work for the governor. They are independently elected.
So, this year, Wolf compromised. He negotiated the best deal he could get with the GOP on spending, but then allowed its spending bill to become law without his signature.
With Turzai, however, it is “My way or the highway.”
That highway ought to lead Turzai, not into the governor’s mansion next year, but right back to the Pittsburgh suburbs where he lives.
Turzai claims that his budget proposals will pay for the $32 billion spending bill.
Members of his own political party have vetted his figures and they show that Turzai’s plan would still leave the state $800 million short of a balanced budget, even with overly optimistic revenue figures.
Turzai can’t add. It is hypocrisy to pass a spending bill, and then refuse to pay for it.
He is trying to ride his one “no new taxes” pony into the governor’s residence — and hurting every Pennsylvania resident in the process.
Turzai for governor?
The man has demonstrated that he cannot govern.
— Denny Bonavita