Click here to tell Harrisburg to come together and pass a budget that serves Pa.'s needs.

House Democrats believe in open, honest and transparent balanced budgeting

The General Assembly and Gov. Wolf need to produce a bipartisan, bicameral 2016-17 budget agreement that is truly balanced, fixes the more than $1.5 billion deficit, pays the bills, supports human services and invests in education at all levels. Pennsylvania cannot afford a repeat of last year.


The right path

The legislature needs to pass full-year, balanced state budgets that are open, honest and transparent and that include sustainable, recurring revenue so we can adequately funds schools, supports human services and begin to address the growing structural budget deficit.

Balanced budgets contain predictable and sustainable revenues – ones in which schools districts can give every child the same opportunity to succeed and so that seniors aren't forced from their homes by continually rising property taxes. They allow counties and communities to support the most vulnerable and sustain basic services for residents, and in Pennsylvania, a balanced budget addresses the structural deficit that's threatening the economy.

We must focus on honest and responsible policies that work, including:

  • Enacting a severance tax in Pennsylvania
  • Instituting combined reporting and closing corporate tax loopholes while leveling the playing field for all businesses
  • Updating Pennsylvania's liquor laws to improve convience and capture more revenue

The wrong path

Republicans pushed for a fifth straight budget that ignored fiscal reality and failed to address the financial challenges Pennsylvania faces. According to the Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania's structural deficit could grow to $1.9 billion next year and $2.6 billion in future years.

The budgets of the past five years have been balanced on paper using a variety of gimmicks, such as paying just 10 months out of a 12-month bill, or borrowing from one program to pay for another, or using money that won't be available the following year. That kind of budgeting doesn't come without a cost.

Republicans can't paper over a deficit of that size with "lapsed" funds, one-time balance transfers and other accounting gimmicks. Without new and recurring revenues to balance this year's budget and close the structural deficit in future years, more cuts are in store for priorities Pennsylvanians support, such as education.