(HARRISBURG) – Today, Governor Wolf unveiled his proposed $45.7 billion state budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, that would increase General Fund spending by $4.5 billion from the current fiscal year’s approved budget, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20).
The proposed spending includes $2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Including the expenditure of federal dollars returned to Pennsylvania during the pandemic, the governor’s budget represents a 10.9% increase in spending.
According to Senate Appropriations Committee budget projections, the governor’s plan will produce a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year and create an even bigger bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay long after the governor leaves office: a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27.
“Today we were presented with Governor Wolf’s final budget proposal. His plan is unrealistic financially, economically, and politically. The astronomical increases in proposed spending for the upcoming fiscal year are more than concerning. As I have the opportunity to speak with individuals across our region, I am reminded of the many families who strive to live within their means, and expect government to do the same. It would be foolish to overload this budget with new spending that cannot be sustained in coming years.
“At this point, without any financial deficits to contend with, it is reasonable to expect a balanced and fiscally responsible budget by the constitutional deadline. The most serious challenge is to restrain overall spending, in order to avoid creating a deficit next year. Too many of Governor Wolf’s large requests appear to be political statements, more than investments that can be explained and justified to taxpayers. Shortfalls in previous budgets and the dislocations caused by the pandemic, necessitate prudent spending in education, health care, public safety, transportation infrastructure, elections administration, and broadband access.
“Governor Wolf has been quite open about treating this as a legacy budget. The reality is that he will not be here to weather the consequences of the massive spending plan he has proposed. His legacy can be best influenced by putting down his veto pen and enacting meaningful legislation that respects hardworking families across Pennsylvania.”