State Budget and Taxes

The Budget Solution We Need

It appears that the Pennsylvania Senate is about to vote to not concur with the recently-passed House bill to fund this year’s budget. That will set the stage for what will certainly be intense negotiations among the four legislative caucuses and Governor Wolf about a compromise bill. We hope these negotiations will be completed quickly, as the state is already delaying payments to the pension funds and Medicaid managed care organizations and the state is getting very close to a credit down grade that will cost hundreds of millions over the next few years.

What the PA Credit Downgrade Means

The decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade Pennsylvania’s credit rating should come as no surprise. There was ample warning by S&P and other credit agencies, as well as by political observers including us at PBPC, that this would be the result of the continuing failure of Republicans in the General Assembly, and especially Speaker Turzai and his followers in the House, to raise sufficient recurring revenues to close state’s long-term structural deficit.

STATEMENT: On the Passage of the PA House GOP Revenue Plan

HARRISBURG – Marc Stier, Director of the PA Budget and Policy Center, made the following statement on the passage of the House GOP revenue plan:
 
"After a long debate that was mainly remarkable for the failure of House Republicans to adequately explain or defend their proposal to transfer $600 million from special funds into the General Fund, the Pennsylvania House of Representative enacted a revenue plan that, (1) includes zero recurring revenues, which means that the next fiscal year will begin with a deficit of over $1 billion, (2) is fundamentally unbalanced in that it includes many proposals that are unlikely to raise the revenues expected, including proposals that have been included in previous budgets but have never gone into effect, and (3) is a stealth cut in government spending on critical programs in public transportation, public safety, environmental protection and agriculture, small business, economic development, and other areas that are supported by the special funds the House has raided.

The PA House GOP Budget Plan to Raid Special Funds Explained

The Pennsylvania House Republican plan to balance the budget by, among other things, raiding other state funds is something of a moving target. A new amendment Representative Moul (A03286) to House Bill 593 is the legislative vehicle in which elements of the plan will move to the floor of the House as early as today.

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