Harrisburg – Senate Jake Corman (R-34) said that he will work with fellow members of the Senate to carefully review the 2017-18 state budget announced today by Governor Tom Wolf while at the same time pushing for the Governor to address skyrocketing pension costs.
Corman expressed disappointment that the budget plan does not address the Commonwealth’s public employee pension crisis – one of the largest cost drivers in state government and a major contributor to higher property taxes. The Governor vetoed a bill that would have equaled about $120 million in total pension savings, according to independent analysis. Of that, $53 million would be pension savings for the school districts. Pension payments for school district this year will be $144 million.
Corman, who serves as Senate Majority Leader, said he will continue to advocate fiscal responsibility, as he has done in previous budgets, and prioritize the process of finding government efficiencies. He also wants to explore how the governor’s consolidation of state departments will affect the delivery of services to Pennsylvanians.
Corman said that he is pleased that after calling for huge tax increases in past years, Governor Wolf has finally offered a budget that looks to rein in spending before raising taxes. But he raised concerns that the budget fails to address major cost-drivers in state government including pensions.
“This budget contains many proposals for one-time revenues, including a long-term lease of the Farm Show building, while asking Pennsylvanians for $1 billion in new taxes and fees,” Corman said. “It includes a limited number of ideas about how the state can save money and does nothing to address skyrocketing pensions and Medicaid spending.
Corman said he looks forward to reviewing the details of the Governor’s proposal over the coming weeks, as the Legislature engages in a thorough review of his proposal during Appropriations Committee budget hearings. The committee will begin three weeks of public hearings on the proposed budget on February 21.
The Governor proposes total spending of $32.337 billion which is an increase of $571.5 million or, 1.8 percent, above the current spending. The Basic Education Funding allocation is proposed at $5.995 billion, an increase of $100 million, or 1.7 percent. The Ready to Learn Block Grant allocation is proposed at $250 million, the same amount as the current year’s budget.
CONTACT: Jennifer Kocher (717) 787-1377