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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Tom Wolf stood in the House Chamber late this morning and offered up his address for the 2016-17 budget. Given that the 2015-16 budget hasn’t yet been settled, this speech was never going to be a victory lap. But would it be contentious? Would the state GOP, never docile, get riled up? We got the answer fairly quickly.

Wolf started his speech by saying this wouldn’t be an “ordinary governor’s budget address” and then proceeded to rail about the process surrounding last year’s budget, taking several digs at the Republicans who came to the bargaining table, only for state House members to decline to walk away from a compromise budget negotiated by their leadership.

The Republicans threw bombs right back, comparing Wolf’s speech to surgery and even the Governor’s beloved Jeep, with a smattering of Irish folklore. Here’s a breakdown of the top insults bandied back and forth by Harrisburg’s finest.

Wolf to the Republican legislature

  • On budget negotiations in December: “I was ready, hand in hand, and then the house Republican leadership walked away. They walked away from the table and went home for the holidays.” 

The chamber erupted in boos, prompting Wolf to go off-script and, basically, admonish lawmakers: “Yelling will not make it go away. Wishing will not make it go away.”

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  • “If you won’t face up to the reality of the situation we’re in. . . if you ignore that time bomb ticking. . . if you won’t take seriously your responsibility to the people of Pennsylvania – then find another job.”
  • “1.5 billion dollars worth of optical illusions would have made our actual budget problem even worse. If you were running a business, and you took a budget like that to your banker, you would be laughed out of the room.”  

The PA GOP to Wolf

The PA Dems to the House GOP

House Speaker Mike Turzai to Wolf

  • “With all due respect, I think the governor is out of touch with those folks. I don’t think he’s out and about like we are. I’ll leave it at this, I think it’s easy to live up in Mount Wolf or off of Rittenhouse Square and not know what real people are doing every day… Come and see what real people are doing in their everyday lives because these folks do.”

House Majority Leader Dave Reed to Wolf

  • “Unless the governor happened to pick up a leprechaun with a pot of gold in his Jeep, there is no way that budget will be passed.”
  • “We were hoping he would come back from Fantasyland, instead he went to Neverland.”

14-term Republican representative Bill Adolf

  • I got a knee replacement last week, and it was not as painful as this process has been.

Wolf spokesperson Jeff Sheridan to Adolf


Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...