HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Mount Wagner has been quiet for several weeks.
On Thursday, it erupted as brash and outspoken Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) ripped Governor Tom Wolf (D) over the 79-day budget impasse.
Wagner supports the stopgap budget that the GOP Senate is in the process of passing. It would free up money for schools and social service agencies while the broader negotiations continue.
To make his point, Wagner showed a pay stub from one of his employees and highlighted the line where state taxes were deducted. He also showed the receipt from a truck purchase, this time highlighting the line where state sales taxes were collected.
“That money is going into the bank account of the state of Pennsylvania and its sitting there,” Wagner said. “There is plenty of money sitting in a bank account right now that we could release to the agencies that need money.”
The collection of tax dollars continues, Wagner reasons, so why shouldn’t the state’s disbursement of tax dollars?
On Wednesday, the normally even-tempered Governor Wolf blasted the Republican stopgap tactic, calling it a gimmick.
“I’m against the stopgap,” Wolf said in perhaps his most emotional tone since becoming governor. “They’re poking me in the eye again. They want to see how hard they can push me. They can’t.”
But that won’t stop Wagner from trying. He has adorned his Capitol office with several anti-Wolf poster-sized signs that are critical of the governor’s leadership.
“I want the message to be loud and clear to the people out there who depend on the money from the state, those agencies. You need to get Governor Wolf’s cell phone number and his address and start picking on him. Stop picking on me. Stop picking on my fellow senators. Governor Wolf deserves all the blame for this, what’s going on, pure and simple. Don’t blame me.”
Wolf and Democrats call the Republican stopgap a gimmick that gives some money, but not nearly enough money to schools and social services
“This is the most cynical response I have yet to see in politics,” Wolf said. “This is ridiculous. This is what the people of Pennsylvania hate about Pennsylvania politics.”
But York County apparently can’t get enough of Wagner, the self-funded outsider unafraid to speak his mind. He could be Pennsylvania’s version of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, though Wagner quickly notes the differences.
“He (Trump) talks a lot about himself. I don’t think he has really any class,” Wagner said.
“Donald’s obviously stirring things up, but I think I have better hair.”