Wolf Administration To PASSHE Schools: Support The Wolf Tax Hikes…Or Else

HARRISBURG — In response to the Wolf Administration’s efforts to strong-arm the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) Board of Governors into supporting the Wolf tax hikes, Republican Party of Pennsylvania Communications Director Megan Sweeney released the following statement.

“Tom Wolf is playing shady political games with the educational futures of 110,000 students,” Sweeney said. “Tom Wolf loves to brag about being a ‘different kind’ of governor, but his Administration’s efforts to strong arm the PASSHE schools into supporting his massive tax hikes is a page out of the political playbook of his mentor Ed Rendell.

“The fact of the matter is Tom Wolf’s tax hikes will affect every student who buys a textbook or purchases a meal plan in Pennsylvania. Wolf’s tax hikes would raise the cost of college for more than 110,000 students by 6.5%, but what college or university will feel comfortable speaking out if it means the potential loss of state funding?

“Tom Wolf’s political coercion of our PASSHE schools is troubling, and serves as further proof that Wolf will do whatever it takes to push his liberal agenda.”

PASSHE Board Member: “I Felt Like A Gun Was Held To Our Head.”

“I didn’t like the tenor yesterday,” said board member Johnathon Mack. “I felt like a gun was held to our head.” (Dennis Owens, “Did governor twist arms for tuition-freeze promise?” WHTM, 4/9/2015)

Some Members of the PASSHE Board of Governors “Felt The Governor’s Aide Was In Effect Threatening Them.”

“A day after an aide to Gov. Tom Wolf called it a “test of accountability,” the board overseeing Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities voted its intent this morning to freeze tuition next year provided the governor’s proposed double-digit percentage boost in campus aid passes the Legislature. But the State System of Higher Education’s board of governors, some of whom said they felt the governor’s aide was in effect threatening them, added a caveat — that the tuition level will still be “subject to the final determination” by the board at an unspecified date.” (Bill Schackner, “Higher ed board to freeze tuition at state-owned universities if aid boost comes through,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/9/2015)

Wolf Administration: Support Us Or We Could Stop Supporting You

“What’s more, (Wolf Policy Secretary John) Hanger made it clear that another $45 million Wolf has promised to request in the 2016-17 state budget for the State System to fully restore the funding cut the system absorbed in 2011-12 also hangs in the balance.” (Jan Murphy, “Gov. Wolf tests state universities’ board with tuition freeze ultimatum,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, 4/8/2015)

“Wolf Can Promise More Money For State Schools But He Can’t Deliver.”

In reality, Wolf can promise more money for state schools but he can’t deliver. Budget bills begin in the legislature and must be passed by both chambers before reaching a governor. (Dennis Owens, “Did governor twist arms for tuition-freeze promise?” WHTM, 4/9/2015)

Wolf Budget Would “Equate To A 6.5% Increase In College Costs” For PASSHE Students

“(PASSHE Chairman Guido) Pichini said @GovernorTomWolf’s sales tax increase would equate to a 6.5% increase in college costs for PASSHE students.” (Tweet from Jan Murphy, Harrisburg Patriot-News, 4/9/2015)