September 13, 2017

House Republicans Pass Revenue Package Not Supported By The Other Caucuses Or Gov. Wolf

The House, in a 103 to 91 party-line vote, amended and returned House Bill 453 (Ryan-R- Lebanon) [not House Bill 593] to the Senate containing the House Republican plan to transfer over $630.5  million out of special funds to the General Fund to help balance the state’s budget.
Among the transfers from the 41 funds affected are--
-- Multimodal Transportation Fund - $50 million
-- PA Race Horse Development Fund - $10.7 million
-- Racing Fund - $15 million
-- Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund - $100 million
The remainder of the package includes--
-- Tobacco Settlement Fund monetization - $1 billion
-- Gaming Expansion - $225 million
-- Additional Liquor Control Board Transfer - $50 million
-- Joint Underwriting Association Transfer - $200 million
Click Here for a list of all special fund transfers.  Click Here for General Fund Financial Statement.  Click Here for a House Fiscal Note.
Gov. Wolf has already said the House Republican plan is “nonsense” and "irresponsible."
Senate Republican staff have said there isn’t near the amount of unused money in the accounts House Republicans plan to use and certainly not to balance the budget.  They did give them points for trying.
Needless to say House and Senate Democrats are opposed to the plan calling it a “phoney budget” and “fake news.”
As promised, Gov. Tom Wolf Friday announced the state will delay paying over $1.7 billion owed to managed care organizations ($1.169 billion) and the PA School Employees Retirement System ($581 million) until at least September 21.
State Treasurer Joe Torsella Tuesday released a statement regarding Treasury’s Short Term Investment Pool (STIP), and warned that on September 15, the General Fund’s balance is projected to fall to zero.
As a result, without corrective action, $860 million in scheduled expenditures would be delayed until the General Fund has received sufficient revenue.
The Other Shoes
Remember, this is only the Fiscal Code bill, there is still the Tax Code-- House Bill 542 (Thomas-D-Philadelphia) and Administrative Code -- House Bill 118 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne)-- the House must act on.
What’s Next
The House will not be in voting session Thursday and session unlikely Friday.  Next voting session day is scheduled for September 25.