The latest budget rumors indicate legislative leadership and Gov. Wolf are negotiating a budget that would spend at least $31.5 billion and upwards of $32 billion. To put these spending numbers in perspective:
- $31.5 billion is $1.1 billion more than net revenue.
- An increase of $1.5 billion would be more than five times the rate of inflation and population growth.
- In the eight years before Gov. Wolf took office, General Fund spending grew by $2.85 billion. If the legislature passes a $32 billion budget, that would equal a $2.85 billion increase in just two years.
Last year, legislative leaders demanded we determine how much is available to spend first, and then to spend within our means. This year’s negotiations are beginning with how much Gov. Wolf wants to spend and then cobbling together the taxes to pay for it.
So-called “sin taxes” may not be as destructive as broad based sales or income tax increases, but they burden low-income households, result in greater smuggling, and extract more money from families who are already overtaxed.
Rather than take more from taxpayers, lawmakers should prioritize spending, cut corporate welfare, address human services spending growth, and enact meaningful reforms for cost drivers such as pensions.