At Allegheny County League of Municipalities Conference, Governor Wolf Warns of Fiscal Cliff Facing Pennsylvania

April 08, 2016

Seven Springs, PA — Governor Tom Wolf joined the Allegheny League of Municipalities (ALOM) at their Annual Spring Conference today to discuss the issues facing municipalities across Pennsylvania. With Pennsylvania facing a more than $2 billion budget deficit, the state is facing a fiscal cliff for the 2016-17 year. The impact of failing to address this financial crisis will directly affect local municipalities.

“If Pennsylvania’s financial house is out of order, then the commonwealth cannot be the full partner that local communities need us to be,” said Governor Wolf. “Today, I want to reassure you that I will continue to fight for a fair, smart, and honest budget in Harrisburg so that our local communities can have fair taxes, good schools, and manageable operating costs. Let’s get Pennsylvania back on track together.”

In March, Governor Wolf let the Republican 2015-16 budget become law in order to move on from the budget impasse and address the state’s financial challenges in the 2016-17 budget. However, if the General Assembly does not approve a responsible plan to solve this crisis this year, every Pennsylvanian will suffer real, immediate consequences.

At the conference today, Governor Wolf outlined four changes at the state level that will avoid these severe consequences and make local communities more successful:

  • The state needs to level the playing field of the tax system by alleviating the inherently unfair reliance on local property taxes, which places an especially tremendous burden on older and poorer communities.
  • Pennsylvania needs to improve its schools by taking on a larger state share of the education funding burden and distributing state proceeds according to a fair funding formula. Pennsylvania will not prosper if we don’t commit ourselves to fair and adequate funding of our schools.
  • The commonwealth needs to work with local municipalities to address the legacy costs that communities are faced with, including municipal pension costs.
  • Finally, Harrisburg needs to pass a fiscally responsible budget that addresses the state’s deficit. Pennsylvania has been downgraded five times in five years by the Standard and Poor, Moody’s, and Fitch credit agencies, and this financial mess has already hit local communities in the form of cuts to education and human services.

“The policy environment in Pennsylvania has grown increasingly hostile to older municipalities over the past half century, particularly in our heavy reliance on local property taxes to fund essential services” said Governor Wolf. “We need to change course when it comes to shaping the environment in which our state’s municipalities operate and serve.”

ALOM is a voluntary umbrella organization of boroughs, townships, cities, home rule municipalities, municipal authorities, and Allegheny County officials which coordinates a systematic and cooperative approach to municipal legislation and services. The League works with government associations to encourage intergovernmental cooperation and improve government liaisons. The three-day conference addressed topics such as pensions, education, workforce development, public utilities, infrastructure, healthcare, emergency preparedness, and the opioid epidemic.

Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook:

SHARE Email Facebook Twitter