PA Enviros Resist Transferring Surplus to Help Balance State Budget

Last September, amidst a heated state budget battle in Pennsylvania (where the phrase “severance tax” was on the lips of every Democrat and RINO in Harrisburg), a group of PA House Republicans did the hard work Gov. Tom Wolf and his cronies in the legislature refused to do: They figured out how to fund a wildly overspent budget without raising a single tax (see PA House Introduces Balanced Budget with NO Severance Tax). How did House Republicans do it? They went looking for state agencies hording money, with a plan to relieve them of their surplus. You know how it goes. Each year agencies don’t spend all of their allotted money, yet they ask for more the following year anyway, knowing legislators may shave some from the request. It’s obscene. Yet that’s how the game is played. When Republicans went looking, they found even the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been squirreling money away, unused in some of their programs. The House Republican plan from last September was not adopted, but elements of it were included in the final budget. The final budget passed in October instructs Gov. Wolf to reallocate $300 million from surpluses at various state agencies–from the agencies of his own choosing–as part of the “funding” for this year’s budget. The House Appropriations Committee will hold a meeting on Jan. 25 to question representatives from DCNR and DEP about the use and operation of special funds under their administration–to see if there’s a bit of surplus there that can be used for the state budget. Judging by the reaction from a former DEP Secretary, it seems both agencies take umbrage at having to subject themselves and their surpluses for scrutiny. At its core, this issue is about who will pay bloated teacher’s salaries in Philadelphia. Big Green wants to target the Marcellus industry to pay “for the children.” Yet when they themselves are asked to contribute a small amount of their bloated excess (give it up for the Philly teacher’s unions), THEY resist! They are all for raiding another industry, but refuse to have their own departments “raided” in order to balance a hugely overspent state budget. Anyone else smell rank hypocrisy?…

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)
You do not have permission to view the comments.

Please Login to post a comment