State Budget Progressing

Harrisburg has been busy deciding how to spend your tax dollars, and there are only a few days left before the June 30th budget deadline.

On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved a scaled back version of the Governor’s proposed budget. One of the more interesting components of the approved plan is its reliance on revenues generated by privatizing wine and liquor stores. The Associated Press put together a solid round up of how the numbers shake out:

"[I]t would help fill the gap with revenue including $380 million from selling off the state’s wine and liquor operations, $227 million in transfers from special funds, and $48 million from a proposed two-year suspension of an array of tax credits including one for Keystone Opportunity Zones for economically distressed communities. It also would reduce projected tax refunds by about $200 million and count on another $200 million in leftover program money.

"The proposal would keep some of Corbett’s one-time maneuvers to save money, including postponing nearly $400 million in payments to providers for medical care and behavioral health services for the poor. It would not, however, postpone $170 million in public pension payments, as Corbett had proposed.

"Public schools would see an extra $100 million, including $70 million for instruction and operations, $20 million for special education and $10 million for school construction projects. But the new, $340 million "Ready to Learn" block grant program proposed by Corbett in his February budget plan was jettisoned."

The budget proposal now makes its way to the House floor.

An interesting side note is the fact that the State Government Committee passed an amended version of "Paycheck Protection" legislation. It is possible that the final budget deal between the House and the Senate may include a vote on the measure. That would be great news for Pennsylvania taxpayers.

If you are not familiar with Paycheck Protection, be sure to read this primer on the issue from the Commonwealth Foundation and this letter to the editor from Sen. Scott Wagner.

Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) is a non-profit organization founded to raise the standard of living of all Pennsylvanians by restoring limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility. By empowering the Commonwealth’s employers and taxpayers to break state government’s "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and Big Government lobbyists, this restoration will occur and Pennsylvania will prosper.