2017-18 State Budget:
Senate Leaders Raise Concerns About Future Cost-Drivers, Including Pensions
- Senate Appropriations Budget Hearing Schedule FY 2017-18 Updated 2/7/17
- Senate Appropriations Committee Budget Hearings Summary (includes video)
Responding to Governor Wolf’s budget proposal, Senate Republicans will continue to advocate fiscal responsibility, as they have done in previous budgets, and prioritize the process of finding government efficiencies.
Senate Republicans have concerns that the Governor’s plan includes $1 billion in new taxes and contains many proposals funded by one-time revenues, while failing to address substantial cost-drivers, including skyrocketing pension costs and long-term spending.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25): “This year we heard a very different budget proposal from Governor Wolf than we have heard in his prior budget addresses. In previous years the Governor pushed for massive tax increases – but this year he is proposing significant cuts within state government. I look forward to reviewing the details of the Governor’s proposal over the coming weeks, as the Legislature engages in a thorough review of his proposal during Appropriations Committee budget hearings.”
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34): “This budget contains many proposals for one-time revenues, including a long-term lease of the Farm Show building while asking Pennsylvanians for $1 billion in new taxes and fees. It includes a limited number of ideas about how the state can save money and we will give those ideas a thorough review. The concern is that all of these changes are just window dressing. This budget proposal does nothing to address the pension crisis. It does little to address long-term spending. It appears to do little to address the growth in Medicaid spending. This proposed budget falls short of addressing the real issues in state government.”
Senate Appropriations Chair Pat Browne (R-16): “I am pleased to see after two years of budget proposals based on large spending increases and massive tax hikes that the Governor has acknowledged what the Legislature has been saying — that we need to first look at state finances and identify ways we can reduce costs, eliminate duplication of services and rein in spending before asking our hardworking taxpayers and job creators to pay more in taxes. On the surface, this budget proposal provides significant savings and spending reductions, while still providing funding for vital programs and services. However, it is now the responsibility of legislators to look at these proposals more closely and determine if they will actually provide the results and savings the Governor projects. The most significant question that will need to be answered during our review is whether this budget proposal addresses the primary cost-drivers the Commonwealth faces: pensions, mandated human services and corrections. If this budget does not meet these substantial fiscal challenges then significant holes remain that must be addressed.”