HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Governor Tom Wolf is releasing his fourth budget proposal today. It will lay out his preferences for spending and funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The plan — and reception from Republicans — isn’t expected to be quite as contentious as in past years, because negotiations are beginning as Wolf and many other state lawmakers are running for reelection, or for higher office.
That’s significant, because the budget impasses that have lately plagued Pennsylvania typically aren’t great for poll numbers. Wolf and other candidates stand to gain if everyone agrees.
The administration has described this budget as one that will build on existing initiatives, and likely not start many controversial new ones.
House GOP Leader Dave Reed says for his party, that means no new taxes and lower spending.
“We’re hoping to see just a more reasonable proposal that hopefully Republicans and Democrats can work together on and get done in a timely fashion,” he said.
Though he noted, he is still expecting Wolf to propose a severance tax on natural gas drilling.
“I imagine he’s going to keep doing that until he’s either out of office, or there’s a severance tax in place,” Reed said. “You know there’s some folks for it, some folks against it. I don’t think anybody really has a handle on what a final severance tax would look like. Certainly for me, I’m opposed, and I’m pretty sure [House Speaker Mike Turzai] is too.”
For the first time in a decade, the administration has said it won’t have to fill in a revenue deficit.
If that holds true, the state isn’t on the hook for raising extra cash to plug gaps — one of their biggest stumbling blocks in years past.