Sunday, February 7, 2016

Post-Gazette: Wolf: Next Budget Will Have Narrow Focus- Schools, Cover Cost Increases

In an article published Sunday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Gov. Wolf said the focus of his second budget proposal will be narrow-- boosting school funding while raising taxes to pay for automatic cost increases in pensions, medical assistance and other programs.
He said the proposal will total about $32 billion.  In December, Gov. Wolf signed the Republican-passed $30.2 billion General Fund budget, but line-itemed vetoed $6.8 billion from that budget.
Gov. Wolf said he still wants to lower the corporate net income tax rate and provide school district property tax relief, but neither will be part of his budget proposal Tuesday.
In the article, Gov. Wolf said the Independent Fiscal Office estimates there will be a $1.9 billion deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.  [Actually, the IFO said $318 million would be needed to balance the FY 2015-16 budget signed into law in December and, if there are no changes, another $1.3 billion to balance the FY 2016-17 budget.]
Gov. Wolf continues to support the spending levels in the $30.7 billion “agreed-to” budget framework and his announcements last week of additional education funding assumed the funding in the “agreed-to” budget was still agreed-to.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) was quoted in the new article as saying, “He (Wolf) can pine away all he wants for that to come back (the agreed-to budget framework), It’s not going to come back. He needs to negotiate a new deal, something that can get the votes in the House and Senate.”
Gov. Wolf Sunday released a short video preview of the budget Sunday saying he assumes the $30.7 billion “agreed-to” budget framework is in place (when Republicans don’t), adding a failure to act means “severe consequences for Pennsylvania.”
Wolf Calls For An Honest Budget, Tax Increase

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