Senate Democrats Outline Billion Dollar
Savings and Revenue Plan
13, 2013- Howard Ondick
In advance of the Governor’s mid-year budget briefing, Senate Democrats have
outlined their plan for state budget savings and new revenue.
speakers are Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County, Senator
Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, Senator Anthony Williams of Philadelphia, and
Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County.
advance of the governor’s planned mid-year budget briefing, state Senate
Democrats today announced details of a plan to generate more than $1 billion in
budget savings and revenues they say can be used to make key investments, avoid
deep cuts or tax increases in dealing with a projected $839 million budget
“Senate Democrats have identified ample
revenues to not only deal with the significant budget deficit that has
developed under Gov.
Corbett’s watch, but we’ve also found resources to fund key job creation initiatives,
education investments and safety net repairs that are needed as a result of
short-sighted administration policies,”Senator Costa said.
November budget status report, the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) reported
that Pennsylvania was facing a structural deficit of $839 million.
today’s news conference in the state Capitol, Costa detailed the Senate
Democratic $1.091 billion savings and revenue plan. The plan includes the following features and
● Expanded Medicaid -- $400 million;
● Escheat Reform -- $150 million;
● Wine and Spirits Modernization --
● Charter School Reform -- $85.5
● Capital Stock and Franchise tax
phase-out freeze -- $75
● Multi-state claims processing for
SSP/SSI – $75 million;
● Enhanced tax collection -- $55
● Medicaid Managed Care -- $50
● Tobacco products tax -- $36
● Vendor discount elimination -- $40
Democratic Whip Senator Williams said Pennsylvanians should not accept the
recurring rhetoric from the Corbett administration that they have to cut and
slash each and every year due to a revenue shortfall.
“Every year we have heard the same tune from
the governor that his hands are tied because revenues are soft and the job
market is flat,” Williams said. “For the
last three years, Senate Democrats have put forth plans outlining how we can
generate budget savings and additional revenues to make key investments without
song the governor keeps singing about his budget woes is stale and taxpayers
are tired of it. The fact is we need a new more aggressive approach,” he said.
Hughes said the reason Pennsylvania keeps having budget deficits and scrambling
for money each year is the Corbett administration does not have a comprehensive
and coherent job creation strategy.
“Under the governor’s leadership, we’ve gone
from eighth in job creation to near last among all states, dead last among all
our neighboring states and last among all big states,” Hughes said. “We have a Corbett jobs deficit of 166,000 on
top of a Corbett budget deficit of $839 million.
“The reason we can’t move forward is that the
Corbett corporate tax cuts of over $1 billion, combined with a lack of
attention to the needs of everyday Pennsylvanians in job creation, education
and safety net protections, weigh us down.”
Democrats also continued to lament the $1 billion in cuts in education funding
authored by the Corbett administrations several years ago. The Democrats said
this policy has been counterproductive and costly to the average taxpayers
because the state simply shifted the burden.
“We can devise a better approach to budgeting
and revenue generation that will not result in our local taxpayers paying more
in property taxes and children losing opportunities in school,” Costa
said. “The Senate Democratic plan
provides a path that is responsible and deals with the Corbett budget deficit.”
addition to the budget and savings plan, Senate Democrats said they would soon
announce their budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.