Commonwealth Court, today , ruled that Pennsylvania most move $800 million into the MCare Fund , set up in 2002 to help defray malpractice insurance costs for the state’s medical professionals. The vote was 4-1 with the dissenter Judge Dan Pellegrini, not citing law but expediency and class envy namely that the budget is now out of balance and the doctors will get money.
Money was transferred from the fund last fall to end the 101-day budget impasses and avoid making massive cuts in state spending.
Even with the transfer, a huge budget deficit — some estimate it at $1 billion — was looming.
And this doesn’t even take into account the soon-to-hit pension crisis .
Gov. Rendell has said he will appeal which would be to state Supreme Court.
With regard to Judge Pellegrini, I hope he is as comfortable with expediency when it comes to his own pension since some cold-blooded expediency in that matter might be the only that that keeps regular working folks from serious suffering.
Hat tip to GrassrootsPa.Com
Obamanomics continues to take its toll on Pennsylvania as the nation continues to suffer through the Great Dempression.
The Keystone State collected $3.9 billion in general fund revenue in March which was $243 million less than anticipated.
Year-to-date collections are $19.9 billion, which is $719.6 million, or
3.5 percent, below estimate, the state Revenue Department said April 2.
The sales tax brought in $569 million for March or $50.9 million less than expected. Sales tax receipts for the year are $5.9 billion which is $316.2 million off estimates. State officials said the snow kept people inside in February,
meaning they spent less money.
Personal income tax revenue for march was actually $57.7 million more than expected coming in at $811.9 million. Could it be that all the unemployed had time to do their income tax earlier? Ah, that was just being mean. Year-to-date personal income tax collections are at $6.8 billion which is $135.9 million less than hoped.
Corporate taxes in March were $264.2 billion off estimate coming in at $2.3 billion. Year-to-date collections are at $3.5 billion which is $283.2 million — or 7.5 percent — off estimate.
You can say people aren’t dying to pay their taxes here. Inheritance tax collections for March were $68.2 million or $5.1 million below estimate. YTD is $545.7 million or $13 million below estimate.
So how are we going to pay for all that looming pension pain? or that $1.2 billion in new spending that Gov. Rendell is seeking?
The $800 million Pennsylvania borrowed via tax anticipation notes (TAN) authorized Dec. 7 is due June 30.
Along with $6.5 million in interest.
The law gives these notes the first right of revenue. Revenue from state business taxes arrive in March followed by personal taxes in April.
The debt is scheduled to be paid off with $300 million in May and $500 million in June.
This year’s Pennsylvania budget is about $27 billion not including $1.2 billion in federal American Recover and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money. It is expected to rise between $1 billion and $1.2 billion.
This was the state’s first TAN offering since 1997.
McCall.Com is reporting that Gov. Rendell along with the leadership in the state Senate and House has agreed that state spending will increase by $1 billion for 2010-11.
“We’ve agreed with the Legislature we will try to hold spending growth to about 4 percent,” Rendell reportedly said in a conference call. That would mean mean a $1 billion increase to the current $27.8 billion budget.
State Senate Minority Appropriations Committee Chairman Jay Costa (D-43) said a $1.2 billion spending hike is expected.
Rendell Wants $170 Million In Spending Cuts — Pennsylvania’s Obamaconic budget crisis has caused Gov. Ed Rendell to announce a plan to cut state spending by $170 million and has specified where $161 million of those cuts would be.
It should be noted that Rendell said he was cutting last year but spending actually rose.
Under the just announced plan, State Correctional Institutions would receive $15.377 million less than last year. This appears to be the biggest line item cut.
Public Welfare would be cut $53.688 million, with County Child Welfare (-$10.4 million), Acute Care Hospitals (-$4.7 million), Autism Intervention and Services (-$4.5 million), the Human Services Development Fund (-$4 million), and Health Care Clinics (-$3 million) taking the biggest hits. Money to the acute care hospitals and health care clinics would, in fact, being zeroed out.
State money for education would be cut by $27.835 million with the biggest share of the cuts coming in the Authority Rentals and Sinking Fund Requirements line item at $11.5 million.
Things like Cultural Preservation Assistance, Regional History Centers and Minority Business Development would be zeroed out.
For the complete list see here.
Rendell Wants $170 Million In Spending Cuts
Gov. Ed Rendell, yesterday, announced a plan that would turn a $96 million deficit into a projected $124 million surplus by the end of the fiscal year in June.
The plan calls for reductions in discretionary grant programs and a 1 percent across-the-board cut in spending by state agencies. He would also use last year’s surpluses for some programs.
The reason for this is sluggish revenues — IOW fewer people working means fewer people are buying things which means less money for Harrisburg from the state sales tax; and obviously the receipts from the state income tax are going to be less.
And people just don’t seem to be flocking to the casinos do they?
Rendell says he hopes the action will mean he can avoid layoffs of state workers.
The laid-off non-state workers who still have to pay property taxes feel your pain, I’m sure.
Kudos to GrassrootsPa.Com for the tip.
The State House restarted the budget process last night by voting, 103-98, to resolve matters with $1 billion in new taxes. The vote was pretty much on party lines with Republican Dennis O’Brien joining the Democrats to vote for the taxes and Democrats John Pallone and Joe Petrarca joining the Republicans to vote nay.
Thanks to Government Bytes and Nathan Benefield for the tip.
Something to ponder: have things really been so bad without a budget? Maybe we will get lucky and they will never pass one. Status quo is better than new taxes.
Dems Cut Check For Themselves As State Workers Twisted In The Wind — Gov. Ed “X” Rendell caved yesterday signing a partial budget allowing 77,000 state workers to get paid, an experience they have not had since July 1.
Also, money was made available for welfare checks.
Checks were cut Tuesday, however, for the Democratic members of the State House using a reserve fund the State Legislature keeps just for budget impasses.
The House and Senate Republicans declined to issue checks until the rest of the state workers were paid, as did the Senate Democrats.
Dems Cut Check For Themselves As State Workers Twisted In The Wind
Kid Shellen of FreeRepublic.com has pointed out that the Pennsylvania budget has increased from $35.8 billion in 1998-99 to $61.3 billion in 2008-09.
Has your income increased 70 percent since 1998?
Or has state services improved 70 percent?
While the rate of increase has been higher under Rendell, Ridge/Schweiker didn’t do all that much better.
Rendell wants to spend $61.7 billion this year.
Pa Budget 70 Percent Higher