State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Right-leaning organization calls Senate budget report "misleading"

Written by Katie Meyer | Jul 1, 2016 1:34 AM
Capitol Interior.jpg

The Senate's budget report showed more funding for education and an overall spending cut. (Photo by Harvey Barrison/Flickr)

After a bipartisan budget vote Wednesday night, the Senate released a budget itemization showing it had cut the House budget's spending by over 20 million dollars, while also allocating more money for higher education.

But the Commonwealth Foundation, a right-leaning Pennsylvania organization, says that number isn't fully accurate.

The lower spending shown in the Senate document was only possible because the chamber moved expenses from an 88 million dollar bond-funded program off the expense list, and into a restricted fund.

From there, the program will be paid for using a future bond.

It's not an uncommon move, but Nate Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation, said in this case, it's disingenuous.

"It's very misleading for them to say they spent less money, because they're adding 74 million dollars in spending, and moving money offline," he said.

Senate spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said the decision will give the state better debt rates, which will save money down the line.

Benefield said while he doesn't dispute that the move made fiscal sense, it doesn't mean the Senate actually lowered spending.

"They increased [spending] about 70 million dollars, and I think you should be honest about that," Benefield said.

The budget still has no official funding package. The deadline for its passage was midnight on Thursday.

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