Senate Budget Hides Millions in New Spending

Member Group : Commonwealth Foundation

Millions in Corporate Welfare Funding Moved Off the Books

Jun 30, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Yesterday, the state Senate made several tweaks to the House-passed budget—hiding the plan’s true cost in the process. Though the publicized spending level, $31.55 billion, is the same as what the House passed, the Senate actually added $74 million in new spending.

How’d they manage it? $95 million in funding for the Commonwealth Financing Authority, a corporate welfare program giving state-backed loans to favored development projects, was moved off the General Fund books. It won’t appear on the budget balance sheet, but taxpayers will still pay for it. Worse, the Senate voted to increase funding for similar subsidy programs by $9 million.

These changes, along with a boost in higher education funding, bring the Senate budget to $31.63 billion, or $1.6 billion more than last year’s enacted budget. That’s a 5.3 percent increase and raises spending levels five times faster than inflation.

"It’s sad that they attempted to disguise a spending increase," commented Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy for the Commonwealth Foundation. "This smoke and mirrors budgeting shields subsidies for politically connected companies. Lawmakers should be reducing our corporate subsidies, not hiding them from the public."

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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