Lawmakers Identify Billions in Budget Savings

Today the Taxpayers' Caucus, lead by state Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) and Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York), released a comprehensive report identifying over $3 billion in potential savings to Pennsylvania taxpayers. The report is notable not only for the size and scope of identified savings, but for focusing on ways to balance the budget without tax increases.

The report identifies savings from a variety of sources.

Some savings are based on the Governor's efforts, like $158.7 million claimed by the GO-Time office.

Some savings come from structural reforms, like pension reform and requiring state employees to contribute to their health care at the rate of their private sector counterparts.

And some savings come from reducing the size of government, such as the privatization of liquor stores and limiting borrowing for RACP and other capital projects.

Far more than one-time sources of revenue, this report demonstrates that tax hikes are not the only way to a balance the budget. In fact, the report recognizes tax hikes are counterproductive because they dampen the economic growth necessary to boost revenues.

However, if the commonwealth were to increase tax rates; the state would begin to cannibalize the very economic growth needed to close the cyclical deficit. In order to balance the budget . . . the Taxpayer’s Caucus has suggested several proposals to strengthen our economy . . .

The caucus and it's leaders should be commended. The Taxpayers' Framework for Pennsylvania is a breath of fresh air in a state with a massive budget on autopilot and a long history of tax hikes.