State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Budget likely to come late, with money borrowed to fill gaps

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jun 28, 2017 11:34 PM

Lawmakers have two days until the budget deadline. (Photo by Lindsay Lazarski/Keystone Crossroads)


(Harrisburg) - The budget is due Friday, but lawmakers and Governor Tom Wolf still aren't offering up any concrete details.

So far, we know there's a $1.5 billion shortfall from this fiscal year that needs to be filled.

We know lawmakers are looking for roughly $700 or $800 million on top of that to balance next year's spending.

We know most of the new money will come from a gambling expansion, and according to the governor, there's a good chance the state will borrow against some future revenue to patch its shortfall. One candidate is a large tobacco settlement fund.

But specifics are scarce. House GOP spokesman Steven Miskin, for one, had little to tell reporters.

"I believe that [borrowing] may be an idea that was being floated, but we're--I don't know," he said. "I don't know where that is. I don't know that. I don't know."

Wolf gave a slightly more substantive answer when asked whether government would borrow to fill its shortfall. He indicated that even though borrowed cash wouldn't be a renewable revenue source, it might be appropriate in this case.

"There is a component of the gap that is a one-time component," he said. "I think it's fair that it should be a one-time solution."

Overall, Wolf seemed unbothered.

"I hate to sound like a Pollyanna here, but this is my third budget, and I really think there is a nice tone," he said. "I think we're trying to work together and be constructive here."

That doesn't mean the budget will be on-time, though.

Party leaders said a spending plan is likely to hit Wolf's desk by the fiscal year's end. But the revenue bill to balance it will probably take longer.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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