Harrisburg — Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) today stressed the importance of holding down state spending and making government operate more efficiently as Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a $34.1 billion General Fund budget. The Governor’s 2019-20 budget proposal includes a $927 million increase from last year’s budget, as well adding $500 million in supplemental spending to the current fiscal year.
“While I am pleased the Governor has abandoned his attempts for broad-based tax hikes, I am very concerned with the continued growth in state spending,” DiSanto said. “Our debt burden is now one of the biggest budget cost drivers as the state has repeatedly relied on borrowing and one-time fund transfers to support new spending. Dramatically higher spending now will only ensure future tax increases.”
For the fifth consecutive year, the Governor is requesting an energy tax on Marcellus Shale extraction and has called for a $15 minimum wage. DiSanto questions both proposals because they will lead to less business investment in our communities and fewer jobs for hardworking Pennsylvanians. “Increased costs on business are all passed on to Pennsylvania consumers,” said DiSanto. “If the Governor truly wants to attract new businesses to Pennsylvania we must reduce state taxes and regulations, not impose additional burdens and barriers to economic growth.”
The Senate begins its detailed review of the Governor’s budget proposal with a three-week series of Departmental Budget Hearings beginning on February 19. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear from cabinet secretaries and other officials to learn their plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The state’s current fiscal year ends June 30, and DiSanto says, “I will look with my colleagues at every department to identify opportunities to save money for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania before enacting a new budget.”
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