There seems to be a pretty big gap in the governor’s budget requests and how Pennsylvania will fund them

February 22 — After Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro rolled out his budget plans for next year, a number of people wondered how on earth we could fund these wishes. 

In fact, the Independent Fiscal Office started taking a hard look at the numbers and noticed a rather sizable gap in money that will be coming in and what the governor would like to spend. 

The gap is more than $1 billion difference. 

That’s never a good sign economically for, well, anyone. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “We’re talking about taking a lot of money out of the Rainy Day Fund, but you’re talking about recurring expenses. So that doesn’t work when you have a fund that’s not being replenished and you’re thinking you can easily use that for these. They’re saying that corporate and personal income tax collection is not going to be as high as the governor thinks it’s going to be.”

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “Obviously, the governor, he’s painting a rosy fiscal picture and with that rosy fiscal picture, spending it all and more. What we need to remember, the Independent Fiscal Office is just that. It’s an independent fiscal office. It’s not a partisan organization. They’re kind of like straight down the middle. They’re not real conservative in their estimates, but they don’t give room for these rosy fiscal pictures. They try to give you a reality of what’s likely to be next year. If they say that his revenue estimates are a billion dollars too rosy, I would tend to believe them. That means that he’s spending a billion dollars more than we have next year and he was already sending more than we have. He was planning to spend down our reserve, and once you get through the reserve, then you get to the Rainy Day Fund, and of course, projecting 2027, 2028 that reserve and Rainy Day would be spent by this recurring expenditure. You can’t continue that without expecting a tax increase in the future.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “You know, the recreational marijuana is going to stuff those coffers filled with stoners, and then of course, the game of chance, nothing to worry about here, just to get that pencil and the eraser out. We’ll move some money around.”

Kauffman said, “Yes, they talk about both of those things. There you’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. But when you’re talking about what is being spent by this government, they’re talking billions of dollars. I know you say that somewhat in jest, but the reality is that you can’t say, oh, we’re going to raise $600 million in revenue, but then go spend a couple billion. The math doesn’t work.”

Ryan said, “Apparently recreational marijuana has already made it to Harrisburg, because that’s just insane.”