News Worms
News Worms

Governor Wolf Offers New Budget Proposal

Governor Wolf Offers New Budget Proposal

Tuesday's budget address by the governor marks the beginning of several weeks of hearings within the Republican-controlled Legislature to discuss and negotiate the budget.

Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his annual state budget address Tuesday facing a $3 billion projected deficit and a stated desire to avoid any sales or income tax increases.

"With the difficulty the governor has had in convincing the majority, I don't know that they'd go for something that high", said Mr. Kavulich, who suggested a severance tax of around 4 percent would be more in line with other states.

Gone from Wolf's plan are the broad-based taxes the Democrat attempted to pass in his last two budgets.

"I'm offering a budget proposal that represents a responsible solution to our deficit challenge - and a different approach from the way things have been done in Harrisburg for nearly a generation".

Governor Wolf promised money for education, senior citizens programs, and fighting heroin abuse.

He also said it was time to close corporate loopholes. "And when big corporations get special treatment, Pennsylvania families and small businesses wind up shouldering more of a burden than they can bear".

Wolf's planned $32.3 billion budget for 2017-18 calls for a $100 million increase in basic education.

"In this year's budget, there is a $700 million shortfall". "Instead of allowing schools to become the first casualty of our budget deficit, we've made them our first priority". "We've undone almost two-thirds of those short-sighted cuts to our public school system and we've made a historic investment in education for the commonwealth".

Attorney General: A slight decrease of $1.3 million in the general fund would be offset by increases in other areas, bringing the overall budget to $171.3 million.

Governor Tom Wolf wants to impose a 6.5 percent severance tax on Marcellus Shale production, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

For many years, the commonwealth has faced grave budget challenges. "There is a lack of recognition of the private college sector and its contributions", said Don Francis, president of the Harrisburg-based Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania.

Some of Wolf's initiatives were already announced, including the consolidation of four state departments. The 2017-2018 budget continues to invest in battling the opioid epidemic by placing significant emphasis on expanding access to treatment and diverting those suffering from substance use disorder away from the criminal justice system and into supportive programs. It would maintain services for the vulnerable, and fund caregiver help and day services for another 2,000 people with intellectual disabilities or autism.

State Budget Secretary Randy Albright said the administration is looking forward to working with lawmakers in the coming months to come up with the details of the program.


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