HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) – The Latest on the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s committee meeting in Hershey (all times local):
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is telling state Democratic Party committee members that they’re standing between Pennsylvania and “extremist” Republican lawmakers who he says aren’t willing to adequately fund public schools or balance the state government’s budget.
Wolf spoke Saturday at the party’s winter meeting in Hershey.
Pennsylvania government is embroiled in budget gridlock unlike any other in decades, and there’s no full-year spending plan in place with the fiscal year two-thirds over.
For next year, Wolf is seeking a nearly $33.3 billion spending plan. That’s a two-year, 14 percent increase. To balance it, he wants a nearly $3 billion tax increase that he says can narrow the nation’s widest school funding disparities and fix a $2 billion projected deficit, plus meet rising costs for pensions, prisons and health care.
Top Republicans say they plan to fix the state’s finances without a tax increase and blame Wolf for vetoing GOP spending plans that they call reasonable and responsible.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party committee is gathering to decide whether to endorse anyone in contested primaries April 26 for U.S. senator and state attorney general.
Party chairman Marcel Groen (GROWN) plans to ask committee members at Saturday’s meeting in Hershey not to make an endorsement.
Even if a candidate can get the two-thirds majority vote required, an endorsement doesn’t guarantee success.
The party endorsed Bob Casey for governor in 2002 and Arlen Specter for U.S. senator in 2010. Both were beaten in the primaries.
Democrats this year want to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and keep a Democrat in the attorney general’s office. The embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane isn’t seeking re-election.
Four Democrats are seeking the nomination for U.S. senator; three for attorney general.