The Budget for 2017-2018

In February, I proposed a budget that balanced by implementing more than $2 billion in cuts, savings, and efficiencies and closing $1 billion in loopholes. And for the past several months, Democrats and Republicans have had a robust conversation about our fiscal challenges. The result is not everything I wanted or everything Republicans wanted. But we avoided deep, indiscriminate cuts that would have endangered our ability to deliver services to the people of Pennsylvania.

Working with both parties, we passed a general appropriations bill that streamlined government by making more than $2 billion in cuts, invested more money in education at all levels, and continued our efforts to fight the heroin crisis. It helps Pennsylvanians who need it the most like those with intellectual disabilities, and invests in key programs to create manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania, while allowing the commonwealth to team up with businesses and institutions of higher learning to create jobs and a strong workforce.

However in the absence of a compromise revenue plan getting to my desk, I must take action to manage our state’s finances. I will securitize profits from our state’s liquor system to pay off nearly all of our prior year deficit and significantly reduce the need for additional temporary borrowing to pay our bills. Additionally, I will take steps to streamline government services and manage the state budget to ensure that payments can be made to schools, health and human services providers, and other governmental entities.

This is not the way our government is supposed to work, but I must ensure that Pennsylvanians — our schools, our seniors, our middle class, and our must vulnerable — are not hurt.

The fairest and simplest solution to our fiscal challenges would have been, and still is, to pass a severance tax on natural gas drillers. It’s widely supported throughout the commonwealth and among bipartisan legislators. We’re the only gas producing state without one. It’s commonsense.

TOM WOLF
GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA