It was nothing short of an Easter miracle: Pennsylvania has a budget! The nine month old budget impasse has ended when HB 1801 went into effect.
As expected, opinions on the budget vary.
Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation said, “Governor Wolf did the right thing by allowing this balanced budget to become law. Unfortunately, this comes after months of gridlock and schools being forced to the brink of closure, all in his quest for higher taxes.
“Pennsylvanians want smarter spending, not more spending fueled by tax hikes. There simply is no appetite for broad-based tax increases. There hasn’t been for the past nine months, and there isn’t as we move forward into the 2016-17 budget negotiations.
“Today is a victory for taxpayers who will be spared crushing tax hikes, for students and teachers who will get the funding they’ve been pleading for, and for all Pennsylvanians, who now have a budget that spends responsibly.”
Marc Stier, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, said, “Governor Wolf’s move to allow HB1801 to become law is an understandable response to an untenable budget negotiation. Unfortunately for Pennsylvanians, the budget negotiations have been hijacked by extremists content to unconstitutionally allow the state to spiral deeper into fiscal turmoil.
“HB1801 not only fails to take a major step toward adequate and equitable education funding, but it is also unbalanced, relying on one-time transfers and dubious assumptions. It will mean a greater risk of a state credit downgrade. It will add to a structural deficit for 2016-17 of nearly $2 billion.
“In the coming weeks it is incumbent on the Governor and General Assembly to come together and work towards a responsible budget — one that raises the recurring revenue needed to close the structural deficit and adequately and equitably fund our schools and the services that so many of our citizens need.”
And you thought it was over?