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Politics & Government

Gov. Wolf Vetoes GOP's Entire Budget Bill

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AP Photo/Chris Knight
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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, speaks to members of the media at the state Capitol in Harrisburg Pa. Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed the entire GOP-crafted budget package sent to him Tuesday.

The governor announced his plans shortly after the bill passed the Republican-controlled Legislature Friday night. He has pointed out that the spending blueprint lacks his top priorities — a new tax on the natural gas industry, for starters. On Tuesday, Wolf said the budget also lacks basic fiscal integrity.

"This isn't partisanship, this isn't ideology. The math doesn't work," said Wolf, tweaking Republicans for relying on a number of one-time revenue sources to patch a roughly $1.2 billion deficit. The plan banks on deferred payments and trimmed-down cost projections. GOP leaders say such moves are valid ways to deal with a tight budget.

The Wolf administration says it's the only full veto of a state budget they could find in a search of the past 40 years of state archives. It sets up a logjam that could last weeks or months, keeping state aid from flowing to schools and human service programs run by counties and nonprofit groups.

Lawmakers are expected to go back to the drawing board for round two of budget negotiations, beginning with a Wednesday afternoon meeting between Wolf and legislative leaders. When asked which issue might prove to bring the different sides together, Wolf said: "I don't know."

Wolf said he needs more time to evaluate two other GOP-backed plans — an overhaul of public pension benefits and a phase-out of the state-run liquor stores.