Budget: Still Irresponsible, Still Unbalanced

Budget: Still Irresponsible, Still Unbalanced

Despite Fanfare, Budget Remains $300 Million in the Red

July 14, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Yesterday, Gov. Wolf and lawmakers approved a tax and revenue package of more than $1.3 billion. There’s just one problem: The budget remains unbalanced by $300 million.

“Pennsylvania still does not have a balanced budget—and there is no guarantee we will get one this year,” commented Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy for the Commonwealth Foundation. “It’s disingenuous to say ‘mission accomplished’ when the budget relies on loans and promises to pass more legislation.”

Despite yesterday’s $650 million tax increase package, the $31.6 billion 2016-17 budget still counts on a $200 million loan from the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association (JUA)—a government-chartered non-profit that provides medical professional liability insurance—and $100 million from online gambling, which the Legislature has not yet enacted.

“Gov. Wolf and lawmakers are banking on borrowing money and assuming future legislation which may never pass,” Benefield continued. “That is the very definition of an unbalanced budget. Meanwhile, they added $650 million in taxes on hardworking Pennsylvanians, including taxes on online videos, music, and apps.

“This budget won’t magically balance itself. Lawmakers must figure out how to address the excessive spending and deal with the cost drivers in the budget. If they don’t, families will be forced to give over even more in taxes next year.”

Nathan Benefield is available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.

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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.