Thursday, June 30, 2016

House Concurs In Senate General Fund Budget Sending It To Gov. Wolf, Now To Pay For It

The House voted 144 to 54 to concur in the Senate-passed FY 2016-17 General Fund budget bill--  Senate Bill 1073 (Browne-R-Lehigh) sending it to Gov. Wolf for his action.
The total General Fund budget is $31.52 billion, after moving some spending off the General Fund ledger.
The bill increases higher education line items by 2.5 percent and funding for Community Colleges to $232,111,000 from the $226,450,000 the House had in its version of the budget.
The budget numbers for DEP and DCNR are about the same as the House.  The Senate did increase the Heritage Parks Program line-item to $2.8 million from the $2.25 million the House approved.
The budget bill also includes an increase in DCNR’s in-lieu of tax payments for State Forest land.
Both the Heritage Parks and in-lieu of tax payment authorizing language is now in House Bill 1605 (James-R-Butler) as an amendment to the Fiscal Code.  The bill is due to be taken up by the Senate Appropriations Committee Friday.
Click Here for a spreadsheet from Senate Republicans showing differences between FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17 Senate-passed budget.  Click Here for a Senate Fiscal Note and summary.   Click Here for a narrative summary by the House Democratic Appropriations Committee staff.
No Agreement On Revenue Package
There is not yet any agreement on a revenue package to support the budget in Senate Bill 1073.
The House proposed four sources of revenue to fund its budget proposal: 1) $267 million for expanded gaming in House Bill 2150 (Dunbar-R-Westmoreland) authorizing 6 new types of gaming, including iGaming, slots at airports and off-track betting parlors, is still in the Senate Community, Economic and Recreation Development Committee [there are potentially several other legislative vehicles in the Senate]; 2) $129 million for tax amnesty in House Bill 1888 (Quinn-R- Montgomery), now in the Senate Appropriations Committee; 3) $480 million increase in tobacco taxes, including new taxes on chewing, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products (the cigar exemption remains), which the House has not acted on yet; and 4) $150 million in revenue from the liquor reforms already signed into law.
While nothing is for sure, House Bill 1198 (Barrar-R-Delaware), making changes to the Tax Code, was nonconcurred in by the Senate and House in December as part of the FY 2015-16 budget consideration and could be used as a vehicle for tax changes as part of a conference committee deliberation.
The House now expects to be in town through Saturday.
Related Story:
Gov. Wolf Will Sign General Fund Budget Bill As Soon As Sustainable Revenue Package Is Passed

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