Legislative leaders and Gov. Corbett have been negotiating a state budget and, according to the latest reports, are $233 million apart in terms of General Fund spending. Why the disagreement if there is “money to spend”?
For starters, overall state spending increased 40 consecutive years prior to the current budget, causing a four-alarm fire in Pennsylvania’s fiscal house. Dramatic increases in pension contributions, along with rising debt payments, welfare costs, and corrections spending will take more tax dollars in the future unless we address the problems now.
Moreover, the budget approved by the Senate in May would spend $300 million more than expected revenues for next year. Despite last year’s reduction, state spending has still outpaced inflation and population growth over the last decade.
The Pennsylvania Budget Chart Book offers visuals of these and other key trends surrounding the debate over state spending.