IFO releases projection of $1.7 billion deficit

The case for tax reform and legal cannabis stronger than ever

According to the latest report from the Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania could be facing a $1.7 billion deficit for FY 2019-20. The size of the deficit highlights the pressing need for wide-scale tax reform – something I have been urging for years.

We can’t reform the state’s budget with piecemeal measures – we need a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of why we face deficits. That’s why I prime sponsored the resolution creating the Select Subcommittee on Tax Modernization & Reform. 

The subcommittee would investigate the ways the commonwealth assesses and collects taxes and would determine whether those methods are outdated based on our state’s changing demographics, economy and workforce. The subcommittee would then develop proposals to ensure that our tax structure is not only fair for both individuals and businesses, but creates better safeguards to adequately generate the revenue we need to pay our bills.

It’s also one of the reasons I’m re-introducing legislation to legalize the adult recreational use of cannabis. It’s estimated that legalization could generate more than $580 million in annual tax revenue for Pennsylvania. That’s money to strengthen our economy, bolster our workforce and improve our schools. And it’s revenue that could relieve about one-third of the projected deficit in the coming fiscal year.

So as we approach the start of a new legislative session, join me in calling for both tax reform and cannabis legalization – two proposals whose times are long overdue.

You can access the IFO report here.