PA-BGT: PA Gets a Budget

wolf-budget addressIt may be 267 days late, but Pennsylvania finally has a budget for 2015-16.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Tom Wolf said he will not sign the latest $30 billion budget bill, nor will he veto it.

“I am going to allow the 2015-16 budget to become law without my signature,” Wolf said in a statement Wednesday. “This will allow for funding to go out to schools and other services in the short term, but we still face enormous problems that this budget does not even pretend to address.”

The bill will become law on Sunday, releasing an additional $6.6 billion in state funds. Wolf line-item vetoed a budget bill at the end of December, releasing $23.4 billion in emergency funding.

The new budget does not include any tax increases, but includes $200 million in additional education funding (half of what Wolf was looking for).

Senate Democrats spent the last week urging the Governor to reconsider his promise to veto the bill, with schools and service providers across the state struggling to stay open while funding is held up in Harrisburg.

Wolf emphasized that the budget is still $290 million out of balance – on top of a $2 billion deficit brought forward from 2014-15 – and pleaded with Legislature to make a “responsible and balanced” 2016-17 budget.

“Left unaddressed, the deficit will force cuts to schools and human services, downgrades that will cost taxpayers millions and increase property taxes for our senior citizens,” Wolf said. “We must face this reality this year and balance our budget with real, sustainable revenues.”

Wolf and the state Legislature now have just over three months to plan the next fiscal year, beginning July 1st.

March 23rd, 2016 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Governor, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 21 Comments

21 thoughts on “PA-BGT: PA Gets a Budget”

  1. Delco blue says:

    Allowing people vote on a budget that get health benefits for the rest of their lives after 10 years is CRIMINAL.
    What a disgrace talk about the haves and have nots.

  2. Unsanctioned R says:

    Tim, you’re left of all the Democrats in the Senate. Clearly, YOU are the voice of reason.

  3. Tim says:

    Scott Wagner??? That Huck-a-buck from York County??? You have got to be f’n kidding me!!!!??? Man, are you deranged or just delusional! Have a nice Easter pally.

  4. Unsanctioned R says:

    Lots of sour grapes and revisionist history from losers today.

    Bring on Governor Wagner.

  5. Tim says:

    One more thing. The annual budget for New York City in 2016 in $58.6 Billion dollars. The city runs like a clock. We have a bunch of idiots who can’t agree how to fund a budget, let alone pass one. Figure that one out you political geniuses.

  6. Tim says:

    Oh yeah, by the way Wolfpack. The real people costing you MILLIONS are the REPUBLICANS who are borrowing millions to cover unfunded liablities and have no means in place to pay for State services that are already budgeted. This funding shortfall means that they have to go back to the well again and again to borrow over and over and all those hundreds of thousand of dollars in interest payments paid to the Republicans fat cat banker buddies each month are coming from your taxes dummy. So don’t be a crybaby and blame the Wolfman for costing you millions, it’s your buddies, the idiot Republicans who are costing you a bundle of REAL money! And they claim they want low taxes? This is how they are stewards of your tax money? The phoney-ram-a hypocrites!

  7. Tim says:

    The Republican gangsters can enjoy this “moment” for now. However there will be hell to pay in November as voters will vote this criminal gang out. It’s too bad they can’t get the basic math involved here and do what it takes to return to solvency and put a long term plan in place. But they live on “Fantasy Island” with the “Boss” + “Tattoo” telling them how great it is there on “Fantasy Island” where they can dream about conservativeland and republicanville for the rest of their lives as long as they remain in power. It’s a stunning indictment on these classless idiots, a bunch of huckabucks from the backwoods and remote counties here in Pennsyltucky, a bunch of good old boys who have no clue on how to move this state forward and turn it into a mighty economic engine that it could potentially be. Just more huckabuck crap from Republican losers with the same failed policies taking the state down the road to insolvency, bankruptcy and inevitably to loserville.

  8. Isaac L. says:

    David – While I agree to a certain extent, I think the strategy is more likely avoid catching shrapnel when schools close their doors before the academic year is over and the whole thing blows up. This is actually not the worst option available and might be pretty shrewd: the governor allows relief to go to schools that will still feel the pinch from being underfunded (thus keeping the fires lit and going) and he can spend this year railing against the Republicans for sending him yet another unbalanced, fiscally irresponsible gimmick budget that S&P is going to raise hell about and that’s leaving them with a $2 billion deficit going into election year budget negotiations.

    Republicans should have caved on increasing revenues last year – with the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax revenues gone, they have to make up for it somewhere (maybe, in part, combined reporting? but I digress) – but now they have to face their own red-hatted, pitchfork wielding, rabidly anti-tax constituents (who don’t seem to grasp that underfunding education leads directly to permanent property tax increases). If the Short-Fingered Vulgarian goes into July with a plurality of delegates and either ends up on the top of the ticket or is denied what he deems rightfully his (either option being great for Dems) and the Dems play this right, it could be a political bloodbath as the Republican Party implodes come November, putting our own Commonwealth conservative compatriots in a decidedly defensive position.

  9. dem says:

    Tired,
    The Governor’s budget proposal did have property tax controls built in. Schools with reserves over a few percent (I think it was 5%), were not allowed to raise property taxes. This covered something like 90% of school districts in PA.

    And the 401k plan only works if you don’t already have a multi-billion dollar unfunded liability. 20+ years to pay that down will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions in accrued interest. All of the analyses on SB1 (the Senate’s 401k plan) showed that it took twice as long to fix the problem as the Governor’s plan.

    Oh and other states have shown how this doesn’t work most of the time. Pew’s recommendations have not been in place long enough to show any effect, so let’s look at states that made the switch and have results we can actually use.

    http://www.rsa-al.gov/uploads/files/Case_Studies_State_Pension_Plans_that_switched_to_DC_Plans.pdf

  10. Tired says:

    Observer – the thing driving up property taxes is pension obligations plain and simple. The Governor’s budget proposal offered NO property tax controls…state and local taxes could (and would) both rise concurrently. The state providing more funding doesn’t guarantee property taxes stay low; local school districts can just keep adding spending as well (see: poor use of temporary stimulus funding.)

    The fact is that without REAL pension reform (not the kind offered as part of the failed “compromise”) is needed if we ever want to stop digging a deeper hole. It’s not hard: keep the promise to current and retired enrollees (no changes), everyone new goes into a 401-k, and then you have 20+ years to plan and meet the obligations to the old system as the new one starts. Other states have done it this way without the pitfalls that the PSEA claims will occur. Even Pew Charitable Trusts (the most independent place around) says it can work.

  11. dem says:

    Dear Independent,
    First, if you want to condescend, use proper punctuation to avoid looking like a moron (hint: this is how you properly use a colon). Second, what was voted down was a political stunt, not an actual attempt to give the budget a fair shot. Of course the Governor’s budget was ambitious and would have needed some changes to secure enough votes. But our Republican legislators made a mockery of the process, never even opened up the possibility of real negotiation, and now stand proudly as they continue the embarrassing legacy of the Corbett years with sham budgets that deliberately shortchange inner-city minority populations in favor of small, wealthy, gas filled suburbs.

    http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/8481354-74/tax-budget-vote

  12. Independent Montco says:

    Dear Dem:

    “The Governor proposed a smart, fair, and balanced budget, on time, last March” … would that be the one with the astronomical tax increase that was going to tax nursing home care, etc? … the one that EVERY Democratic legislator voted against?

  13. dem says:

    The Governor proposed a smart, fair, and balanced budget, on time, last March. Republicans balked at it and came up with their own pathetic excuse for a state budget proposal until just before the deadline. That budget they put up was a sham, as was every subsequent proposal they put forward. More of the same from the Corbett years that had PA schools stripped down to its bones in favor of the wealthy suburbs and those connected with influential Rs. It’s a shame that the Governor lost this round but it is the hard working, blue collar families that make up this state who are truly losing today. They are losing thanks to the special interests, the crazed right wing ideology of stripping government bare, and to the gerrymandered districts that disenfranchise voters and cause everyone to throw up their hands in disgust as nothing changes. Gotta love how the same republicans voter who think they defeated tax increases, will have their jaws drop as school districts are forced to raise their property taxes through the roof. Wolf’s first budget addressed that, but this process was never about substance anyway.

    Today is a sad day for Pennsylvania.

  14. Observer says:

    Jack up those property taxes republicans. Thanks god for the low info. dumb dumb voter!!! I’ll laugh at the poor saps when they get that tax increase.

  15. Chris says:

    David Diano, did your daughter have anything to do with governor’s decision to let budget take affect?

  16. Tired says:

    So tired of reading the budget is late. The legislature passed budgets more than 3x – including on time. Even if you say it wasn’t done, the one in December was…the Governor accepted and blue lined…that is a budget. The fact is the Governor played chicken for 9 months and finally swerved bc he knew he had lost the public, taxpayers and his legislative allies.

  17. NWPA says:

    Hopefully students wont have to borrow funds again this year to cover their PHEAA grant

  18. David Diano says:

    Interesting strategy:

    Bluff then fold.

    The next budget is going to require a different strategy, despite everyone having the same hands as this year and already showed their cards.

  19. gulagPittsburgh says:

    Sometimes the more intelligent and wise thing to do is move forward and fight another day. GOP may have “won” this round, but will still receive blame for budget delay, plus the lingering problems the GOP is causing.

  20. rep-RESENT.us says:

    This poll should shed some light on what the people of PA really want, Governor Wolf. https://www.facebook.com/groups/pataxpayers/permalink/10154666846813332/

  21. Wolfpack says:

    Wolf you should be ashamed! You cost the taxpayers millions! You and your wolfpack games. Resign take your pack with you. Worse Governor to ever serve/destroy Pa. Total Disgrace. Pay us back the millions your games cost US!!! Our children our schools, our workers. Shame on you!

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