Friday, May 29, 2015

Mo Money, Mo Money

New state revenue projections force new state budget debate.

Mo Money, Mo Money

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Boss, the financial picture of Pennsylvania has brightened with the announcement yesterday that revenue collections for the fiscal year to date are running way ahead of earlier estimates.

BE: Talk normal, we're a tabloid.

JB: We got mo' money.

BE: How much?

JB: So far $505 million in tax collections, a number that towers above the Corbett administration's earlier estimate that we'd end the fiscal year in June with $78 million.

BE: So all those cuts in education and other important stuff might not happen?

JB: Not so fast, spendelli. Cut-Cut Corbett already said that even if we end up with more than  $78 million, he's not budging on his budget. Said he'll veto any budget that comes to him with more money than his proposed $27.3 billion.

BE: Let me get this straight. He cuts like $1 billion in basic education. We end up with half a-billion he didn't count on. And he says he won't spend it?

JB: Bingo. Fiscal responsibility.

BE: Well this is well beyond "no new taxes." This is more like "no government spending."

JB: Because "government spending" is what got us into the fiscal mess to begin with. It's time for prudence.

BE: Who?

JB: The chick with the tight purse.

BE: What's the legislature saying about all this?

JB: Gonna be a problem. Democrats, shocker, want to spend. But even Republican leaders in the Senate say they won't be able to get the votes to pass a budget that cuts deeply while leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.

BE: So the Guv will have to cave, at least somewhat, to avoid a budget battle and yet another missed budget deadline come next month.

JB: I'm not so sure. This is the guy who told colleges to drill for natural gas on their campuses to make up for lost state funding. Plus, I ran into his budget guru, Charles Zogby, yesterday. He tells me "the big problem" is too many lawmakers want to spend and the administration wants to prevent the fiscal sins of the past.

BE: So what happens?

JB: Could be a shoot-out in June at the capital corral.

BE: Well, at least by then maybe we'll have that Castle Doctrine expansion.

JB: Grrrr.

Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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