June 22, 2022, Harrisburg, Pa. — The Commonwealth Foundation today urged Pennsylvania state legislators to resist Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to “inflate the budget” in the face of skyrocketing inflation ravaging Pennsylvanians’ paychecks and savings.
“Record inflation caused by government overspending is hitting Pennsylvanians hard. Inflation is up 8.6 percent from last year and real earnings are down,” wrote the Commonwealth Foundation in a recent 2022 Pennsylvania Budget Checklist. “While states can’t raise interest rates or control federal spending, they can protect taxpayers by controlling state spending.”
The Commonwealth Foundation urges lawmakers to limit 2022–23 state budget spending growth to less than 3.46 percent, consistent with the Taxpayer Protection Act Index based on inflation and population growth.
A 3.46 percent increase would amount to $41.15 billion in state general fund spending.
In addition to limiting spending increases, the 2022 budget checklist addresses responsible use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funds, educational opportunity, and pro-growth economic policies. Specific proposals include:
- Using ARPA one-time COVID funding for one-time uses, such as paying down the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund debt to avoid additional interest charges and taxes on employers.
- Empowering parents by offering a Lifeline Scholarship to any student residing in the lowest-performing public schools and increasing donation caps on Pennsylvania’s successful tax credit scholarship programs to end waiting lists and expand opportunities to additional children.
- Creating job opportunities by reducing Pennsylvania corporate tax rate, providing small business tax relief, and reducing regulatory red tape that holds back manufacturing and energy production.
“The governor and state legislators should think long-term when considering this year’s budget,” said Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield. “While current year revenue was higher than expected, the Independent Fiscal Office projects deficits in future years. Lawmakers should reject Wolf’s election-year spending spree budget responsibly.”
Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Stefanie Mason at [email protected] or 414-418-5132 to schedule an interview.
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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.