Lawmaker blasts Wolf, high spending
State Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Hepburn Township, railed against overspending and over-regulation, and predicted next year’s state budget will not get passed on time.
Hamm, speaking at the Central Pa. Chamber of Commerce breakfast, leveled much of his criticism at Gov. Tom Wolf and his $43.7 billion budget proposal, an increase in spending of 16.6%.
The governor’s plan, he said, comes after his large spending increase proposal of last year.
“He decided to double down,” Hamm said. “He wants to spend every cent.”
Hamm, who represents the 84th House District, said the governor is pushing the state toward deficits.
“Fiscal responsibility is near and dear to my heart,” he said.
The Taxpayer Protection Act is a piece of legislation that can help put the brakes on overspending, according to Hamm.
“Under this governor, state spending is out of control,” he said.
Money is available for the state’s many roads and bridges in need of repair, he said.
The state has in place one of the nation’s highest gasoline taxes, with many of revenues going to state police rather than roads and bridges as intended.
Hamm dubbed such spending shifts the “Harrisburg Shuffle,” which he said are all too-common in Harrisburg.
“They tell you one thing and do another,” he said.
Hamm said he’s against tolling roads as a means of raising more revenues.
The first-term lawmaker also took aim at PennDOT, calling it the most mismanaged agency in the state.
“They don’t like to be held accountable,” he said.
He related how he receives calls from people who simply can’t receive help from PennDOT for their problems.
And so, he ends up investigating the issue himself.
Hamm also criticized the state Department of Environmental Protection for its far-reaching and burdensome regulations and how they result in costing people money.
“They (DEP) like to flex their muscles,” he said. “They should work with the people.”
Hamm said he’s against the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) pushed by the governor.
The compact of 10 states, including Pennsylvania, calls for regional caps on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Hamm claimed RGGI will result in 18% increases in electric bills.
He noted that the governor wrongly issued an executive order directing DEP to join the compact known as RGGI.
“He goes it alone because that’s what he does,” he added.
Hamm said the state budget will likely not be passed by the June 30 deadline.
“The governor is in his final year. He doesn’t care,” he said. “I see a late budget.”