More Budget Scare Tactics
Gov. Wolf announced on Friday that he will delay $1.7 billion in payments to Medicaid providers (for a week) and to the public school employees' pension fund. The governor cited the General Fund's cash balance, which is currently sitting at $583 million (as of Sept. 18), as the reason for the delayed payments.
The Treasurer is refusing to offer a short-term loan to cover cash flow until the budget is balanced. Yet, this short-term borrowing had been done many times in the past, including fiscal year (FY) 14-15, FY 15-16, and FY 16-17.
Meanwhile, the Wolf administration continues their scare tactics against any no-tax-hike budget, including the House revenue plan that transfers $630 million from excess shadow budget reserves. The Observer-Reporter reports:
The administration maintained that there are no surpluses sitting in off-budget accounts, and that raiding in the accounts will cut off funding for projects.
No tax hike will generate $1.7 billion overnight (not even in 12 months). So how does a tax hike solve the cash crunch? It doesn't.
Once the General Assembly and governor agree to a revenue package to balance the budget, the Treasurer would loan the General Fund the cash it needs to pay the bills. Where does the treasurer get the money to do that?
Wait for it….
Wait for it…
From the $9.7 billion in reserve funds the governor says we can't touch without people getting hurt.
The truth is the governor prefers a tax hike over fund transfers from unneeded shadow budget surpluses. He supports temporary transfers to make ends meet, but he opposes permanent transfers to protect Pennsylvanians from higher heating, electric, and cell phone bills.
It should be clear by now Gov. Wolf is less concerned with balancing the budget, and more with raising taxes—so he can spend more year after year on broken programs and special interest giveaways.