PA General Assembly Is Advancing a Budget that Leaves Money on the Table

From the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (http://www.pennbpc.org):

House Budget Vote Planned for Week of June 4

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is advancing a state budget that leaves money on the table that could be used to restore cuts to schools, county human services and the General Assistance Program. On top of that, the state House has approved new tax cuts that will drain even more resources at a time when the commonwealth can least afford it.

The House voted 179 to 19 to give corporations and wealthy individuals a tax break on the purchase of private jets (http://pennbpc.org/summary-no-time-pass-luxury-tax-break-private-jet-sales). The House already approved a bill last month cutting the corporate income tax by close to $1 billion by the end of the decade (http://pennbpc.org/bill-wont-close-tax-loopholes-will-erode-quality-pa-schools-and-services).

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has taken a look at just how much the state spends on business tax cuts each year. The tally rose from $810 million a decade ago to $2.4 billion in the coming year. Read our fact sheet at http://pennbpc.org/2-billion-business-tax-breaks-come-expense-schools-communities.

A few weeks ago, the Senate approved a budget plan that leaves money on the table (http://pennbpc.org/pa-senate-approves-state-budget-plan), keeping loopholes and tax breaks that drain funds from schools and critical public investments.

SB 1466 (http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2011&sind=0&body=S&type=B&BN=1466) eliminates General Assistance, which provides a tiny benefit to 68,000 Pennsylvanians who are sick, living with a disability, escaping an abuser or completing a treatment program. It restores only $50 million of $100 million for Accountability Block Grants, which support full-day kindergarten and other early childhood programs. And it leaves in place $84 million in cuts to county human services for children, the homeless, and people receiving mental health and other treatment.

SB 1466 also preserves a planned cut to the capital stock and franchise tax costing $275 million over the next two fiscal years. These tax breaks primarily benefit the largest corporations and come with no commitment to create jobs.

The House is expected to vote on SB 1466 the week of June 4.

Pennsylvania cannot afford hundreds of millions of dollars in new business tax cuts when schools and county services are on the line. Instead of risking our future economic growth, Pennsylvania needs to take a balanced approach that maintains critical public investments.

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