Key Points from Senate Budget Hearings Wednesday, Feb. 23

HARRISBURG — The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday continued public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget, taking testimony from the state Treasurer and Auditor General.

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.

Wednesday’s hearings:

Treasurer

State Treasurer Stacy Garrity confirmed what Senate Republicans have been saying since the governor unveiled his proposed budget: the proposal clearly contains wildly low projected spending, particularly in human services, while it builds in unrealistic revenue assumptions.

Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) asked if Gov. Wolf’s plan to use one-time, federal CARES Act dollars for recurring expenses is responsible budgeting. Secretary Garrity said, “No,” and said she sees the potential for sizable deficits in coming years that could prompt future governors to propose tax hikes, new taxes or spending cuts to erase the deficits.

Auditor General

Committee Chair Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) told Auditor General Timothy DeFoor that the audits being carried out in the human services field are vitally important as these programs continue to grow and more residents rely on them. Carrying out special financial audits allows for greater public confidence that services are being delivered in an efficient and cost-effective manner. 

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