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Scarnati: Unsure How Senate Will Close Budget Gap

ScarnatiSenate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) told reporters that he was unsure how the Senate will close the expected $2 billion budget deficit.  

According to City & State, Scarnati said “how we close this out is yet to be seen.”  

There are some ideas that have been floated, but do not show much chance of passing the Senate.  

The House passed a gaming expansion bill two weeks ago, but the bill does not have much support in the Senate.

“My experience with gaming in the Senate Republican Caucus, I can boil down real simply: You have a third of the members of the Senate Republican Caucus who oppose gaming because they oppose gaming. You have a third of them that have a gaming interest within their district, so they’re somewhat not in favor of competition for casinos. Then, you’ve got a third of the members in our caucus that could be influenced one way or another to vote for something.  There’s no strong consensus and, when you start off with two-thirds of your caucus either principally against it or certainly economically opposed to something, it’s difficult. That’s why we’re where we’re at,” Scarnati told reporters.  

Other ways to close the gap include leasing state property or borrowing against state assets to close the gap.  Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman does not think that plan has not been really pushed or developed by anybody.  

“That’s certainly been suggested in some corners, and we are working through that possibility, but we are nowhere near landed on it,” Corman said.  

Republicans are saying that any broadbased tax increases are off the table to close the gap.  

“It goes without saying that tax increases – new taxes – are even difficult to discuss,” Scarnati said.

20 Responses

  1. Sad thing is, the party that has been in total control of the legislative branch (guess which one), has only 1 idea to raise revenue and that is by using tobacco, liquor and gambling to extract money from the middle class, the poor and the elderly. They have no concept of the rich AKA top 1% paying their fair share. I recently read an article that smoking among the ultra rich has significantly decreased over the last 40 years or so. So, as you see taxes go up on tobacco and liquor and video gaming machines showing up everywhere, take note of who is throwing their “fixed income” money at these types of things. One day soon, the masses are going to realize that this whole thing has been a scam to take what little money they have so the ultra rich can keep their money – and elected members of legislative bodies are the fools who carried out the scheme, funded by special interest campaign donations, but happily voted in by the votes of the majority poor and middle class all because messages about “guns, abortion, cut taxes on the JOB CREATORS…. etc” convinced them to they were voting for their values.

  2. I wonder if there is some kind of link between cutting taxes by billions of dollars and the deficit of billions of dollars.

  3. 1. 2 percent gas severance tax on top of the current user fees. 2. Sell some state parks and forests. 3. Cut community development block grants; yes, that’s painful, but now it’s necessary. 4. Eliminate office of lt. gov. 5. Return the income tax to the flat tax it originally was; eliminate exemptions for business expenses and union dues, health care payments. Pretty simple. Not politically easy, but pretty simple.

  4. Know nothing idiots in the GOP, can’t let their monied interests down. These are the very fat cats who donate very generously to their campaigns with the understanding that the “status quo” stands.
    A wealth tax would be a start, you have already taxed the poorinto oblivion, with the cigarette excise taxes and the highest gas taxes in the country and your monopoly on liquor sales in the state. I was out Wset in May and booze is 45% cheaper than what you pay to these bootleggers/ mafioso’s running the racket here in PA.The lootery has reached maximum sales and will begin to see revenue declines especially if video lottery terminals are spread to every hamlet, borough, town and city throughout the state much like Oregon did over 22 years ago.
    There isonly so much the poor suckers can handle befor you see a modern day whiskey rebellion against these onerous taxes targeted at the poor. Add on the unfair funding for poor school district that put the brunt on the local taxpayers of those poor districts with no help from the state and you wonder why the citizens in this state have had enough of the legislative monkeyshines and the Republicans refusal to compromise. Act like men + women you babies! Grow up and solve the issues you whining crybullies!

    1. The GOP can’t let down all the contractors, employees and hacks who owe them their jobs and are beholden to them.

  5. Seth Grove should go on a hunger strike. The money that guy spends at Hoss’s in York county would fix the whole structural deficit. Through my calculations he could last a whole year without per deims.

  6. How about getting rid of all those useless commissions and unnecessary government agencies?

    1. Is the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission a “useless” commission?

  7. Wow! A state repub doesn’t know when they’re supposed to be so smart.

    Hey Scarnati, how about trying this…reinstating the corporate stock & franchise tax. There’s your 2.1 billion dollars! What a revelation!

    All this crap started under the Ridge Administration. And for all of you out there across Pa. who are voting gop, just tell me how your own lives would be so much worse if it came back?

  8. A gas severance tax would help. You could probably close the gap off just the gas from the GOP legislature.

        1. so you want to have one of the highest taxes on natural gas drillers in the nation… smart

    1. If you haven’t given away all the Tax cuts to corporations there would be money to run the state. DO YOUR JOB.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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