Officials discuss PA’s budget outlook

Local News

For the first time in a year Pennsylvania lawmakers were able to pass a budget on time this past summer. But there are signs that we could be in for another drawn-out budget battle next year.

Matt Heckel reported on the story.

The IFO’s recently released Economic and Budget Outlook projects a $1.7 billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. Those projections are calculated under a best case scenario warning lawmakers that it doesn’t take into account the possibility of a recession. Something most economists believe is more than likely to occur in the next few years.

“It’s pretty hard to have a deficit that large when the economy is doing very well, and revenue is growing quite well at the state level, said Nathan Benefield. “So, indicating a tough budget year coming up for next year.”

Nathan Benefield, with the Conservative Commonwealth Foundation points to a nearly $3 billion increase in general fund expenditures, including a projected $1.8 billion spending increase in the Department of Human Services.

“Some of it is because simply last year was an election year, so they just pushed costs off on to the future, and didn’t really account for them,” said Benefield.

Benefield notes that the governor ran on not increasing taxes, something he believes the legislature will also be against. But both sides coming together on finding a solution could be a prolonged battle.

“I think there’s going to be some back and forth of finding ways of controlling spending, maybe looking for some additional revenue sources,” said Benefield. “To try to prevent working families from having to pay higher taxes.”

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