Key Points from PA Senate Budget Hearings Tuesday, Feb. 22

HARRISBURG — The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday kicked off four weeks of public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.

Tuesday’s hearings:

Independent Fiscal Office

The administration’s proposed massive spending increase relies on rosy revenue projections not supported by the Independent Fiscal Office. Questioned by committee chair Sen. Pat Browne (R-16), IFO Director Matthew Knittel said revenue projections could be revised downward depending on various factors including the end of the stimulus funding and actions at the federal level.

Department of Revenue

Secretary Dan Hassel was questioned about the administration’s revenue projections and the danger of looming budget deficits.

In addition, Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21) and other members noted that nearly half of the Revenue Department’s staff is working remotely and sought assurances that taxpayers were still being served and private information was secure.

The General Assembly protected taxpayers from Gov. Wolf’s record $4.5 billion tax hike proposal in his first budget. It has been Republicans in the General Assembly who brought order to the state’s structural imbalance and put the restored state finances to good standing. That work will have to continue with this proposed budget.

You can find livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.