Rohrer Says $160 million September Revenue Shortfall Is No October Surprise

Member Group : News Releases

October 6, 2008

Rohrer Says $160 Million September Revenue Shortfall
Is No October Surprise

Time is running out to re-open unbalanced, tax increase-guaranteed state budget

HARRISBURG-With only three scheduled sessions days remaining before the November elections, Representative Sam Rohrer (R-Berks) today cited the recent Pennsylvania Revenue Department report, which revealed that September revenue collections were $160 million lower than expected, as an even more urgent reason to re-open the 2008-09 state budget.

“When I called for a zero-growth budget throughout the entire budget negotiations, and again when I called for the immediate re-opening of the out-of-balance budget just a few weeks ago, I did so based on the grounds that the out-of-control spending would need to be checked. The recent release of September revenue collection numbers has confirmed my arguments for no new taxes, no new spending and no new borrowing yet again,” said Representative Rohrer.

“I reiterate that this budget is effectively unconstitutional because it deliberately ignored clear economic predictions about the level of revenue that would be available to the Commonwealth. Again, I am not surprised by the September numbers, and neither should any of my colleagues or the governor,” he added.

Representative Rohrer remains strongly opposed to using the Commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund to address any future budget deficit, contending that tapping into the fund would also be a violation of law.

“Under these circumstances, draining the Rainy Day Fund is not an option,” said Rohrer. “This fund is clearly reserved for unanticipated emergencies. If the governor continues to spend recklessly, we will certainly have an ever larger fiscal emergency on our hands, but it certainly will not be unanticipated.”

The Associated Press reports that Pennsylvania is now facing a huge budgetary shortfall, amounting up to $1.3 billion, fully agreeing with our June estimates.

“Now it is beyond absolutely clear, that Governor Rendell’s arbitrary cost cutting in several departments was inadequate and short-sighted,” said Rohrer. “Now is definitely the time for drastic spending reductions, rather than more lame duck excuses which will only lead to further inaction. It is crucial to re-open the budget and allow for legislative and public input to create a fiscally responsible, balanced, zero-growth state budget. With ever-increasing fuel and food prices, not to mention Pennsylvania’s unaddressed school property tax crisis, even considering raising taxes or borrowing against the tax dollars of future generations is absolutely unconscionable. Therefore, re-opening the budget in order to address this ever-increasing budgetary shortfall must happen immediately.”

# # #