View Full Version : Pennsylvania: more budgetary failure

David G
03-08-2015, 04:58 PM
From Associated Press


Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has sent his first budget proposal to the Legislature, and it has been roundly panned by Republicans who control both chambers. But, as the majority in the Legislature, Republicans will be under the gun to produce a balanced budget proposal.

That means erasing a $2 billion projected deficit and paying for an additional $1 billion-plus in rising costs. That does not even include supplying more aid to public schools, which Wolf is demanding, or responding to his plan to cut school property taxes.
For now, Republicans have promises and a couple of months to come up with a plan.

"We're not planning to vote for any tax increase, I can tell you that," said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson. "If Republicans and conservatives aren't standing against a massive spending and tax increase, then I'm not sure what separates us from the other party."

Under four years of sharing power in Harrisburg with Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, Republicans failed to stabilize the state's finances, despite enacting deep cuts in education and social services. Toward the end of Corbett's term, the governor's budget secretary, Charles Zogby, maintained that the Legislature's will to keep cutting was gone.

Lawmakers agreed to enact a major tax increase for road and bridge construction but not to support the state's operating budget. They also did not support proposals to raise state taxes to cut school property taxes. Rather, Corbett and the Republicans made it more difficult for school boards to raise property taxes. In addition, GOP lawmakers did not support borrowing money or postponing payments to ease the sting of rising school employee pension obligations required by a 2010 law.

It is not clear whether the state government's grim fiscal situation — or anything else — has changed the dynamics among Republicans.

Maybe this one should be cross-filed under "Can the GOP govern"...