Pennsylvania’ $1.6 billion budget shortfall, and Rendell’s fixes

Governor Rendell gave his mid-year budget briefing earlier today – you can download the presentation here, but let me save you the time – the only thing new or interesting contained within is that Pennsylvania’s General Fund shortfall is expected to reach $1.6 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

Rendell’s plan to fix the gap has 4 parts:

  • $500 million in budgetary freezes (including $36 million from independent agencies, which are not under his control)
  • $174 million from revenue from Marcellus Shale lease payments (payments for rights to natural gas on state-owned lands)
  • $101 million in additional lapses (things we won’t pay until later)
  • $375 million from the “Rainy Day Fund” (half of the current fund)
  • And $450 million from a federal bailout of states (hurting the same taxpayers)

The latest revised budget with Rendell’s budget freezes (excluding those he is asking of independent agencies, including the legislature and judiciary) is now online. Here is the revised budget in an Excel File that I compiled; use the plus and minus tabs to get the line items in each department.

The new budget represents 1.64% decrease from the enacted budget, but a 2.27% increase over 2007-08; it would be hard to argue we have “cut to the bone.” More Pennsylvania budget resources can be found here.