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House GOP Proposes $29.1 Billion Spending Plan [Updated]

A view of the Pennsylvania State house from the State Street bridge in HarrisburgPennsylvania Republican House members proposed a $29.1 billion spending plan for the 2014 fiscal year, a budget leaner than that originally introduced by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The Governor proposed a $29.4 billion spending plan which seeks to create a balanced budget with no tax increases for a third consecutive year.

House GOP leadership has trimmed the spending plan further, and curtailed the public school funding increase to ensure that the state meets its scheduled pension payments.

Proposing a 1.9% spending increase of $536 million, a $315 million reduction from Corbett’s February proposal, PA GOP members wish to spend conservatively.

Members such as House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) are actively advocating for state liquor privatization. Selling state liquor stores and licenses to private business owners could create $380 million in new revenue according to proponents, and help to fund the proposed budget.

Senate leaders are currently struggling to amass the necessary votes for liquor privatization.

Nevertheless, the budget proposal includes neither tax increases nor natural gas extraction tax on Pennsylvania’s abundant Marcellus Shale resource.

The state will gain $75 million in Oil & Gas Lease Fund Money, after Governor Corbett’s executive order allowing non-surface impact drilling on state forest and park land.

Corbett’s $340 million “Ready to Learn” Block grant did not make the cut in the most recent spending plan.

House Democrats strongly object to the proposed budget, claiming that the $100 million funding increases to education is not enough. They also think that the increase in funding to human services is not adequate.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, and the full PA House of Representatives will consider the proposed budget before that date.

Update: The State House Appropriations Committee approved the plan this morning on a 21-14 party-line vote.

7 Responses

  1. Mr. Howard – in the “real” world, households and businesses are not governments tasked with operating on macroeconomic levels. Government costs go up during down economies because all those businesses can lay off people who then cash in on their unemployment insurance and other benefits. Costs go down once the economy improves, people start working, and revenues increase – as you can see, it’s a double whammy on both ends. If you’d like to see what happens when you religiously adhere to a balanced budget in down economic times you can look at the double dip recession during the Great Depression.

  2. Larry – The Corbett Administration’s own budget documents show that Rendell left Corbett with over a $1 billion surplus. Corbett’s financial troubles are largely of his own doing exacerbated by a global economic meltdown precipitated by anti-regulation, “free” market zealots who let the banks run out of control.

  3. Finally someone with more common sense. In the real world when you don’t have the revenues you control costs. It is time for Harrisburg to join the real world and live within its revenue projections.

  4. Where are they gonna get the $380 million this year? The governor’s own budget office says any windfall is years down the road. The PFM says dismantling the system would cost in excess of $1.4 billion. Then they would not have the instant-access sales tax cash any more, which they used to cover state checks in March to the tune of $80 million.

    Surrounding states charge less than $1,000 for a carry out liquor license. Who would pay the $250,000/license necessary to raise the $380 million? Not tavern owners. They would not pay the $4,000 necessary for a small games of chance license – another of the governor’s epic miscalculations, which was supposed to generate $105 million this year.

    FYI – state budget records show Rendell left the state with a billion dollar surplus in 2010.

  5. If the Commonwealth sells the liquor stores, just where does Turdzai plan on getting the $380 million next year?

  6. Delco, you’re right; how dare Republicans exercise fiscal restraint when Spendell already put us into a financial pit of despair?

    The Democrat agenda makes much more sense. We should be talking about the rights of bearded trannies to wear black leather gimp suits in the workplace without heteronormative bigots taking adverse employment action against them. We should be talking about a new mandatory “gay studies” curriculum for public schools. And we most definitely should INCREASE state resources designed to beef up union campaign coffers. You Dems are so sharp.

  7. The GOP priorities are so out of whack.
    This road map of what is to come should there be a 2nd Corbett term with total GOP control provides lots for the Wolf/Stack team to run on. This should also help Dems pick up the seats needed to take over senate and close house gap.

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