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PA's Unbalanced Budget Effects / A Suit Against the State

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Sep 17, 2017 6:00 AM
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On the Monday, September 18th 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

The state Senate passed a $32 billion spending bill in July but is yet to approve a revenue package to fund the expenditures or address the nearly $3 billion structural deficit.  State Treasurer Joe Torsella predicted in July that "The state is not going to be able to pay bills as early as the end of August, beginning part of September."   Governor Wolf was more concise, telling Pittsburgh's KDKA on September 5th "I've been trying to make ends meet, but the string of things I can do really runs out next Friday." That Friday was September 15th - last Friday.

On the Monday edition of WITF's Smart Talk, we'll look at how the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians may be effected should the state run out of cash.  Jay Himes, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials will parse out the impact on the region's educational operations.  Dr. Shari Kim, CEO of the Susquehannna Valley Community Mental Health Services will discuss the effects on mental health treatment and addiction services.  Ron Barth, CEO of LeadingAge PA will highlight the needs of the state's senior population and how the services that aid them will be impacted.

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Ron Barth - CEO, LeadingAge PA / Jay Himes - Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials / Dr. Shari Kim - CEO, Susquehannna Valley Community Mental Health Services

For two years, Pennsylvania has operated without a balanced budget.  Governor Wolf signed off on a spending bill in July, but the legislature is yet to send a balanced revenue package to his desk.  Any revenue bill for the coming year must address a $2 billion structural deficit.  Matt Brouillette, president and CEO of the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, has a problem with this. 

Brouillette, along with Dauphin County businessman Ben Lewis and state Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver County, has filed suit against Wolf, state Treasurer Joe Torsella and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale for not providing the citizens of Pennsylvania with a balanced budget.

"Out-of-control spending leads to borrowing or tax hikes, which stifle investment and harm hard-working employees in businesses like ours," Lewis told PennLive reporter Jan Murphy. "It's time our elected officials start following the law and budget in a responsible, lawful manner so Pennsylvanians can enjoy a better future."

Matt Brouillette joins Smart Talk to discuss the merits of this suit and why he feels a balanced budget is vital to the state's success.

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Matt Brouillette - President & CEO, Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs

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