HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state House of Representatives has passed a revenue plan, but the budget is nowhere near complete and is more than two months late.
House Republicans insist the plan they passed is the answer to the stalled budget, but it’s not getting a warm reception. House Democrats call it shenanigans.
“I don’t like it,” Rep. Carol Hill-Evans (D-York) said.
Pennsylvania gets $350 million a year from its tobacco settlement fund. The House Republican plan would leverage future revenues for money now.
“They want to sell it outright for a lump sum. The problem with that is you only get pennies on the dollar,” Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) said.
Even Republicans who voted for it don’t love it. One described it as “a less-worse option.”
“This has no taxes, no borrowing,” Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) said “We use resources we already have. It’s the responsible thing to do for our taxpayers.”
Gov. Tom Wolf has called it irresponsible and suggests difficult cuts could be coming because the state’s out of money.
“We’re in a position where we’re going to have to look at our options for how we manage cash flow moving forward,” Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said.
The House budget would also transfer hundreds of millions from existing funds. Republicans call it surplus cash, but numerous groups insist the money is already committed and shouldn’t be touched.
“I can tell you these funds are surplus funds and any representation other than that is absolutely misleading and inaccurate,” Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) said.
The American Lung Association, which gets money from the tobacco fund, called the House budget disappointing and dangerous. It’s unknown how the Senate feels about it.
What’s it all mean? We officially have another budget stalemate.