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Analysis of Wolf budget proposal

Written by Radio Smart Talk | Feb 7, 2018 4:00 AM
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On the Wednesday February 7th, 2018 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

The Pennsylvania governor's budget address every February is often viewed as a "state-of-the-state" speech and provides insight into a governor's priorities by what and how the chief executive wants to spend.

A budget proposal made in a year when the governor is running for re-election usually doesn't contain many bombshells or requests for large amounts of new spending.

In his fourth budget address that comes in an election year, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday proposed a budget that would increase spending by a billion dollars or about 3%.  At the same time, Wolf is not asking for a personal income or sales tax increase.  He does want a severance tax on natural gas drilling -- something he has campaigned for without success in his previous three budgets.  

Gov. Wolf plans to use the additional money for public schools, skills training, pension obligations, prison costs and social services for children, older Pennsylvanians and those living with a disability.  Wolf also is proposing an increase in the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour.

Republicans, who control both the House and Senate, responded less than favorably to the idea of spending more money and have been cool to a severance tax, saying the state already imposes an impact fee on drillers.  However, budget negotiations this year will be conducted against the backdrop of all House seats and half the Senate up for election too. 

On Wednesday's Smart Talk, we break down the governor's budget proposal with Franklin and Marshall College political analyst Dr. G. Terry Madonna and take your questions and comments about the state's fiscal status moving into the new year.

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G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall College's Center for Politics and Public Affairs

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