PA House Republicans Move To Cut State Spending

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HARRISBURG, PA (WSKG) — House Republicans hope to make it a little more difficult for the state to spend more than the money included in its official budget.

They’ve passed a slate of five bills intended to do just that–but Governor Tom Wolf is already indicating he won’t sign them.

The state Capitol in Harrisburg. (Tom Downing/WITF)

One of the bills would have the administration freeze money in reserves to prep for projected shortfalls. Another would track off-budget grants, two would compel the governor to give the legislature more information, and one would detail how the administration should handle unspent money.

Wolf’ is currently seeking hundreds of millions in supplemental funds–which the legislature has to authorize–to cover over-spending and a revenue source that fell through.

Republicans have bemoaned the situation.

But in floor debate, Montgomery County Democrat Matt Bradford argued the legislature is complicit in insufficient budgeting.

“We could do a lot better,” he said. “Borrowing and not doing enough in appropriating so that supplementals become necessary in subsequent budgets unfortunately has become common in this body.”

Republicans argued the bills are simply an effort to make budgeting more transparent.

“We have an $813 million surplus right now. So everybody out there believes we have $813 million dollars to spend when we really don’t, because we have $748 million in supplementals,” York County GOP Appropriations Chair Stan Saylor said.

A spokesman for Wolf said he is “concerned” the bills may “limit executive authority to manage the executive branch operations.”