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Weighing Priorities During The State Budget Negotiations With Gov. Tom Wolf

Matt Rourke
AP Images
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, in Norristown, Pa. Pennsylvania is a month and a half into its new fiscal year without a state budget.
You might like to have two plus two equal five, but it doesn't. - Governor Tom Wolf on balancing the budget.

As the budget impasse grinds into its sixth week Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he is willing to compromise but not “compromise away our future.”

“I think that is why I was elected,” Wolf said. “I’m a native Pennsylvanian and I’m not about to compromise the future of my state away.”

Wolf continues to stand firm on his call for a severance tax on shale gas that would be used to bolster education funding and reduce property taxes. Wolf notes he has compromised in how the tax would actually be levied but seemed unwilling to drop the idea altogether. Instead he took a swing at the Republican leadership in the house and Senate.

“You can keep listening to special interests and say, ‘I’m not going to do anything that might harm one of my buddies that give me a lot of money in campaign contributions’ but you can’t build a budget around that,” Wolf said.

Both sides have said they are willing to talk at any time, but as of yet there have been no reports of substantial progress.

In the meantime, Wolf continues to review a set of recommendations on how the state should be reacting to concerns over the safety of oil trains passing through the commonwealth.  The Wolf administration entered a three-month contract with University of Delaware Professor Allan Zarembski in April to produce the report.

“I think there are over 20 recommendations (in the report),” Wolf said. “We will go public with that as soon as I’m comfortable that I understand everything that the professor has recommended.”

Wolf said the ultimate goal is to have safety in Pennsylvania with all trains, but especially with trains carrying dangerous materials.  

The above segment aired on Essential Pittsburgh on Aug. 12, 2015. Also in the program, hear how a local health center will benefit from additional Affordable Care Act funding and a look at a new Keystone Crossroads urban waterfront series.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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