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The Monthly Report – January 2018

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Senator Pat Browne

Senate Appropriations Committee Report
January 2018

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Wolf Administration Releases 2017-18 Mid-Year Budget Update

Budget Secretary Randy Albright presented the 2017-18 Mid-Year Budget Update on December 14, 2017.  The briefing contained no big developments or surprises, and the overall financial picture presented was essentially the same as what came out of the budget process during late October.  Secretary Albright went so far as to say that the Administration does not foresee any need for net supplemental appropriations for the remainder of FY 2017-18.

Secretary Albright struck a positive tone as the Administration believes the Commonwealth is in the best financial shape since the Great Recession, but there is additional work to be done to improve its overall fiscal health.  With continued

constraint of spending increases, the Administration does not expect to need any new revenues to close next year’s budget, with one notable exception that it will push for – a severance tax.  The Administration is considering repeating several of its initiatives that did not make it into this year’s budget, such as the early retirement incentive program.

Secretary Albright was adamant that the statutorily mandated transfer to the Rainy Day Fund be completed this year.  The potential amount is in the $10 million range based on current estimates, but where year-end revenues ultimately land depends largely on what happens with the proposed $200 million transfer of funds from the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association (JUA).

Ideally, the Senate Appropriations Committee believes that Pennsylvania should begin to transfer money to the Rainy Day Fund as it is one of the least prepared states to handle the next recession.  Currently, the balance of the Rainy Day Fund is only $475,000.  The range of reserves that ratings agencies recommend is 5% to 15% of spending – which would be $1.6 Billion to $4.8 Billion for Pennsylvania.  If Pennsylvania were at the median percentage reserve levels of all states, the Commonwealth would have about $2 Billion in its Rainy Day Fund.

The 2017-18 Mid-Year Budget Briefing is available here.


Revenue Collections on Target through First Half of Fiscal Year

 

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