PA-Gov: Tom Wolf Transition Team Announces Budget Sticking Points
Tomorrow Charles Zogby, Budget Secretary for the Corbett Administration, will deliver the mid-year budget outline and the incoming Governor wants to set the terms of the debate beforehand.
For example, Wolf’s transition team points to a statement Secretary Zogby made last summer.
“I would never have guessed that our Year Four budget would be more difficult than what we faced in Year One,” he said. “But that’s where we are today.”
Additionally, Governor-elect Tom Wolf and the chair and vice-chair of his Transition Team’s budgetary task force, Mary Soderberg and Josh Shapiro respectively, identified four key areas that they feel “illustrate the depth of the fiscal hole” the Wolf Administration will inherit.
Chief among the Wolf team’s concerns is that Corbett’s budget was based upon one time revenue sources. Facing what the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) has projected to be a multibillion dollar deficit resulting from a spending plan reliant upon nonrecurring revenue, the Wolf Administration has recognized a significant imbalance in the state’s spending plan.
The IFO has identified over $1 billion in nonrenewable resources, funding shifts and one-time savings that by July 1st, 2015, will require an increase in spending to support. The Associated Press criticized these actions last summer, accusing the current administration of implementing these precarious spending measures to avoid a tax increase that would split the House and Senate Republican majorities.
Next on the Wolf roster is the negative cash-flow Pennsylvania is expected to take in from January to March 2015. As of November 2014, it is projected that Wolf will be the heir to a nearly $2 billion deficit.
Compounding the issue, the Corbett Administration has maxed out its line of credit in order to cover its operating costs. According to State Treasurer Rob McCord, in September the Governor’s office was expected to have reached its $1.5 billion credit limit.
Lastly, job creation—a prominent issue during the gubernatorial debates—has presented itself as a problem area. Just as in the campaign, the Wolf team points to a Keystone Research Center report that shows the state 50th in job growth over Corbett’s tenure (we did a detailed breakdown of this claim in October).
Wolf and Shapiro are planning on holding a press conference after Zogby’s presentation tomorrow. Expect them to expand further on these points and the bad fiscal hand they feel they’ve been dealt.