HARRISBURG – In an address to the General Assembly, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion 2022-23 state budget that would increase General Fund spending by $4.5 billion, Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40).
Sen. Scavello said he was disappointed that the governor’s final budget address ignored the crisis of skyrocketing school property taxes.
“In his first year, he talked about the importance of reducing school property taxes and I commended him for bringing it up. However, there hasn’t been one mention on that subject that’s come from his office since that first year,” he said.
The new spending includes $2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Including the expenditure of federal dollars returned to Pennsylvania during the pandemic, the governor’s budget represents a 10.9% increase in spending.
According to Senate Appropriations Committee budget projections, the governor’s plan will produce a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year and create an even bigger bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay long after the governor leaves office: a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27.
“You don’t take one-time federal dollars and put them into operating expenses. It’s a recipe for disaster,” Scavello said. “You’re looking at a 1.5% increase in the personal income tax in three years if his budget is adopted. He’s not going to be here. He’s going to lay this problem on the shoulders of someone else.”
The Senate and House of Representatives will review the governor’s plan and propose alternative budget legislation. Under the state constitution, a new budget must be in place by June 30.
“The people of Pennsylvania deserve an honest budget and a budget we can live with, and with no surprises in a couple years,” Scavello said. “Because that’s what you’re looking at with this budget proposal – a 1.5% personal income tax increase. I’m not supporting this budget because that’s what it’s going to cause.”
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