Wolf pushes credit rating issue in budget debate

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 21, 2015 4:07 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Matt Rourke


(Harrisburg) -- The budget stalemate is nearing its fourth week, and now, Governor Tom Wolf is pushing a different argument in the hopes of swaying public opinion.

Wolf is voicing concern about the state's credit rating.

It's been downgraded multiple times by rating agencies citing the state's recurring budget gaps, growing pension obligations, and short-term funding fixes.

A lower credit rating means borrowing money costs more.

The governor says he wants long-term solutions to the state's cash-flow problem, not one-time funding patches.

"That's a crisis that I'm focused on. And so I want to mitigate it to the extent possible, the short-term inconveniences of doing this, but I want to stand my ground and say we need a real budget."

Last month, Wolf vetoed a budget proposed by Republicans that included one-time funding sources.

"We're paying a penalty of about a point for a bad credit score. That's a $170 million in extra interest every year. That's $170 million we could be spending on education."

Wolf made his remarks on Radio PA's Ask the Governor program.

The last state budget, approved by Governor Corbett, also relied heavily on one-time funding.

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