Wolf says time running out on budget deal before downgrade

Tabitha Dunn
September 22, 2017

Tell your state senator to support the House plan to restore fiscal sanity to Pennsylvania.

The downgrade means Pennsylvania will pay more to borrow money, potentially tens of millions of dollars a year.

Over the past week, Pennsylvania missed about $1.7 billion in medical reimbursement payments and another $581 million in pension-related bills, S&P noted. "What we've seen is that typically, the budgets are not balanced".

Wolf said he believes leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities are on board with getting a deal done and signed by October 1, before Pennsylvania's battered credit rating gets another downgrade and he must delay more payments for lack of cash.

House and Senate leaders seem to agree any revenue package can rely on at least $200 million in one-time license fees from what they call "gaming".

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When Tom Wolf became governor, he proposed an aggressive and fair tax policy to close the deficit. Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati summed it up best when he said, 'This is not governing; this is an embarrassment'.

What is not clear is why Torsella and DePasquale were being blamed for approving deficit spending.

"We understand", Spain said, "that the commonwealth plans to make payments to both the Medicaid insurers and school districts within a week of the scheduled due dates; however, in the absence of additional liquidity, and with the likely need for external borrowing, these late payments could recur". The current budget noncrisis concerns only the general fund budget at $32 billion.

In a two-page letter sent September 12 to lawmakers and Wolf, state Treasurer Joseph M. Torsella and Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale, both Democrats, cited the state's imminent inability to pay its bills. Let the governor know you noticed his lack of responsibility in crafting a responsible budget while those who owed tax payments continued to meet their obligations on time. Perhaps the clanging of the sword will awaken the many responsible Republican legislators in both the House and Senate and lead them to demand serious action to resolve the budget crisis quickly and reasonably.

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody of Allegheny County called today's news a blow to the state's fiscal standing, but also an opportunity for everyone to get back to work on a "real budget solution".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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