March 16, 2015

Budget Secretary: Wolf’s Budget Is A Package, Can’t Be Considered Separately

The Governor’s Budget Secretary Randy Albright Monday told the Senate Appropriations Committee Gov. Wolf’s budget is a comprehensive package and it should be considered that way and not picked into its constituent parts.
“We have tried to craft a budget that is comprehensive, that can’t in any way just be viewed by its individual component parts, because if that’s the way we try to break down the analysis, if we try to do one thing over here and ignore something over there that’s a contributor to the same ongoing problem, then we’re not going to serve our state in the best possible way,” Albright said.
Senate Republicans and Secretary Albright spared for three and a half hours over Gov. Wolf’s tax proposals and the state’s projected deficit.  On the deficit, the parties agreed to disagree.
Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), Majority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, asked Albright if the Administration would adjust its budget plan if the deficit was $600 to $700 million less than they estimated.
The Independent Fiscal Office projected a deficit of about $1.5 billion while the Wolf Administration has been quoting figures of between $2 and $2.3 billion.
Albright said, “We think our revenue projections and estimates are practical – we have to be very careful that we don’t overstate and are in no way overly optimistic about future revenue year growth projections.”
"Without any hesitation I can say to you that the tax plan that we have put forward ... is the tax plan we need to put in place now to strategically go out and address the multiple challenges that we face as a Commonwealth," he added.
Senate and House budget hearings continue Tuesday.
Written testimony and a video of each House hearing will be posted on the Republican House Appropriations Committee webpage.  Information about Senate budget hearings are posted on the Senate Republican Caucus website.