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The Monthly Report – November 2017

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Senator Pat Browne

Senate Appropriations Committee Report
November 2017

Committee Website

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(all tables and graphics can be viewed online)


2017-18 Budget Completed Four Months into Fiscal Year as Revenues Keep Pace

The General Assembly and the Administration finalized the legislative pieces necessary to complete the fiscal year 2017-18 budget. The enacted legislation includes a Tax Code bill (Act 43 of 2017) that authorizes the securitization of up to $1.5 billion in tobacco settlement payments to help close the one-time deficit carried over from fiscal year 2016-17. Despite having express authority to securitize a portion of the tobacco settlement payments, the Administration has been sending mixed signals by moving forward with a plan to sell a specified amount of monies derived from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. The sale would generate upfront proceeds of approximately $1.35 billion, including $1.25 billion that would be transferred to the General Fund. In addition to the uncertainty of its borrowing plan, the Administration is contemplating raising significant revenue by applying new rules regarding the net operating loss deduction (NOL) retroactively to the 2017 tax year in light of the PA Supreme Court’s decision in Nextel. Also, they have unveiled a plan to suspend tax credits that were set to take effect in FY 2017-18.

A gaming expansion bill is also part of the package, and it will provide much-needed revenue to support both the General Fund and Property Tax Relief Fund. The gaming legislation modernizes the Pennsylvania Lottery by allowing it to offer new and exciting games over various platforms, including the Internet and on-site monitored draw games.

Total General Fund revenue for October 2017 was $2.18 billion, which was $59.3 million, or 2.7%, less than General Fund revenue collected in October 2016. The Independent Fiscal Office’s (IFO) monthly estimate for October projected General Fund revenue collections of $2.21 billion, and so actual revenues were $34.6 million less than the IFO estimate for the month. General Fund revenue collections for the fiscal year-to-date are $9.108 billion. The IFO estimate projected collections of $9.118 billion, and so General Fund revenues are $10 million, or 0.1%, below the IFO estimate thus far this fiscal year.

Moody’s Analytics Notes PA Among Least Prepared States to Handle a Recession

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