House speaker Turzai takes issue with Restore PA funding plan

A “$4.5 billion, debt-financed slush fund.”

That’s the sentiment from House Speaker Mike Turzai on the details of Gov. Tom Wolf’s recently-released Restore Pennsylvania initiative.

Turzai issued a lengthy response to the governor’s proposal.

He attacked the timing of the bill’s introduction, given that the General Assembly has to have a completed budget in a few short weeks.

“Unsurprisingly, almost all the legislative support is among House or Senate Democrats, further demonstrating their party’s desire to recklessly borrow money and to tax employers in order to repay it,” Turzai claimed.

It isn’t that Republicans in the House don’t agree with infrastructure improvements are needed.

But Turzai attacked the means to the end outlined in the Restore Pennsylvania initiative.

“The House Republican Caucus supports investments in transportation infrastructure, rural broadband, stormwater management, brownfield clean-up, and other worthy infrastructure needs,” Turzai said. “No one disagrees with the value of these projects; however, where broadband is concerned, we do take issue with subsidizing multi-billion-dollar corporations to deploy technology using money from taxpayers.”

He called Restore Pennsylvania “$6.5 billion of new debt to burden the next generation of Pennsylvanians,” assuming interest on the bond issue.

“House Republicans believe that our infrastructure needs can be funded under existing programs and by the private sector if only we can remove governmental barriers to those capital and infrastructure investments,” he claimed. “That is why I joined several of my House Republican colleagues to propose the Energize PA program, a package of legislation designed to stimulate billions of dollars in private sector infrastructure investment and other capital projects throughout the Commonwealth. Energize PA would require minimal public expenditure, rather than several billion dollars in debt spending.”