The PA Budget for 2017-2018 still isn’t complete. The General Assembly has passed a spending plan which the Governor allowed to become law. But there is so far no agreement on how to raise the revenues to pay for the spending plan. The PA Budget for 2017-2018 still isn’t complete. The General Assembly has passed a spending plan which the Governor allowed to become law. But there is so far no agreement on how to raise the revenues to pay for the spending plan.
Why? The House Republican Caucus, led by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, refuses to accept any plan for funding the budget that includes new, recurring revenue — revenue that is generated year after year.
Who supports raising new recurring revenues? Governor Wolf and the Senate Republicans, and Senate and House Democrats are moving closer to close to agreement on a bi-partisan plan which Turzai rejects.
How does Turzai want to balance the budget?
- Budget Gimmick: more borrowing from other funds that has to be paid back in the future.
- One time-funds from selling licenses to open more locations to gamble and buy liquor
- Cutting funding Pennsylvania’s state-related colleges and universities — Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln.
- Cutting the state’s contribution to Medicaid
What’s wrong with Turzai’s funding plan? Without new recurring revenue:
- Our budget deficit will get deeper
- Our bond rating will decline, leading to higher interest payments for the state, local governments and schools.
- Pennsylvania will have less money for public investments in education at all levels, health care, environmental protection, and roads, bridges and public transit
How can we raise new recurring revenues without taxing working people and the middle class?
- The best option is a severance tax on natural gas drilling which will mostly be paid by out of state consumers.
- Expanding the sales taxes to include business to business transactions that are not taxed.• Corporate tax reform.
- A Fair Share tax that reduces taxes on wages while raising them on profits, capital gains, dividends and forms of income from wealth.