Contact Information 

District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776

E-Mail:  
smentzer@pahousegop.com

Fighting for Human Service and Education Programs
9/3/2015
Readers may recall an article I wrote on the consequences of a total veto on July 16. Unfortunately, my concerns are now a reality. Last week, the House of Representatives tried to provide funding for human service and education programs by attempting to override 20 line items of the budget that Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed. These programs have been unfunded since the governor’s budget veto on June 30.

A veto override requires a two-thirds vote of the members present. This exercise would not have been necessary had the governor followed the lead of every governor over the past 40 years and done a line item veto. House Republicans voted unanimously in favor of overriding the governor’s veto while House Democrats voted unanimously against the measures. The votes fell short of the two-thirds required, by a vote of 115-84.

Here are the programs that I voted to provide funding to:

• Rape crisis and domestic violence programs.
• PHEAA grants to college students.
• Reimbursements to school districts for food, transportation, health and safety services.
• Community based health care programs and cancer screenings.
• Intellectual disability programs.

I am disappointed that my Democratic colleagues did not support efforts to provide funding to these programs. All of these budget items were to be funded at the exact amount that Wolf requested. We could have started to drive money out to school districts and service organizations by funding these programs while negotiations continue on other parts of the budget where we have no agreement yet.

During debate in the House, some suggested providing funding to these organizations was “unconstitutional,” instead of focusing on the merits of providing funding to these critical services.

Let’s be very clear – when they say overriding Wolf’s veto on funding intellectual disability programs and rape crisis centers is unconstitutional, they are saying they would go to court to stop funding for rape victims and children in need. To most of us, this is a very weak argument. It is disappointing that we are now focused on issues that would not have been a concern had the governor chosen to line item the budget instead of a full veto. Why would he hold hostage those that are the most vulnerable in our community?

Next week I will write about other consequences of the budget impasse.

By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  aevans@pahousegop.com
717.260.6610
RepMentzer.com / Facebook.com/RepMentzer
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