$31.5 Billion Budget Confronts Overspending Habit, Rejects Tax Hikes
April 4, 2017, Harrisburg, Pa.—Today, state House lawmakers are taking control of government’s overspending appetite by considering a responsible state budget that spends smarter and avoids tax hikes.
The $31.52 billion general fund budget introduced yesterday spares Pennsylvanians from tax increases, reduces corporate welfare for politically favored businesses by more than $56 million, and expands education opportunity for students across Pennsylvania by increasing scholarship tax credit programs by $75 million.
"With this budget, House lawmakers are providing the leadership Pennsylvania needs," commented Nathan Benefield, vice president and COO of the Commonwealth Foundation. "This proposal shifts the state government paradigm from ever-growing spending to living within Pennsylvanians’ means, debunking the myth that we must suffer tax hikes in exchange for a government that works."
In a departure from recent budgets, the proposed House budget would keep the spending increase below the rate of inflation plus population growth, as outlined in the Taxpayer Protection Act. Additionally, the budget takes steps toward ending the state-run liquor monopoly and begins to tackle much-needed structural reforms in human services and corrections.
Hardworking Pennsylvanians face the 15th-highest state and local tax burden in the nation because of Harrisburg’s overspending habit. We know habits don’t cure themselves. That’s why this budget represents a fiscal intervention—avoiding the burden of crushing taxes while funding core government functions.
While work remains to make human services programs sustainable, address the public pension crisis, and get the government completely out of alcohol sales, enacting this budget would be a significant win for Pennsylvanians.
As the budget moves through the House and Senate, we encourage all lawmakers to commit to the responsible, smart spending this budget represents.
Nathan Benefield and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.
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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.