State Budget and Taxes

February Revenues Fall Short But March Will Be Bigger Month

Pennsylvania General Fund collections for nearly every major tax type fell short of estimate in February. Shortfalls in the collection of sales, personal income, and realty transfer taxes may be partly attributable to the excessive amount of inclement weather in February, but the bulk of the month's deficit is due to expectations of strong growth for 2014 falling short. This is the third consecutive month in which revenues have fallen short of targets.

Morning Must Reads: A Few Inconvenient Shale Truths

For a long time, we've been making two points about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. One, Pennsylvania's drilling impact fee brings in a fraction of what a severance tax comparable to those in other large energy-producing states would generate. And, two, the claims of job creation by the industry and its supporters (often used to cut off any talk of enacting a severance tax) are greatly overstated.

But don't take it from us. The Allentown Morning Call's Steve Esack has a pair of Sunday stories making the very same points.

Who's Right About Revenue Growth?

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) and Corbett administration are at odds over how much Pennsylvania will collect in taxes and other revenue for the remainder of 2013-14 and all of the 2014-15 fiscal year — to the tune of roughly $375 million. That's a little over 1% of what is expected to be spent in 2014-15.

Unlike Other States, No Revenue Surpluses in PA

While most states are finally recovering from the worst recession in decades, and seeing revenue surpluses for the first time in several years, Pennsylvania has missed the boat. And costly corporate tax cuts have a lot to do with it.

Reid Wilson of The Washington Post explains more in a blog post:

Punxsutawney Phil and Governor Corbett

I published a commentary this week on Governor Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal this week in the Allentown Morning Call. Check it out.

Punxsutawney Phil is predicting more chilly weather ahead, but a winter-weary Gov. Tom Corbett must have spring on his mind. His budget address Tuesday painted a bright and rosy picture of Pennsylvania's future even as we remain in the grip of a long economic winter.

What's in the Governor's 2014-15 Budget?

General Fund Spending: 2014-15 Executive BudgetGovernor Tom Corbett has proposed a 2014-15 state General Fund budget that would spend $29.4 billion, $927 million, or 3.3%, more than the current fiscal year.

Infographic: Bridging the Budget Gap in 2014-15

Punxsutawney Phil predicted chilly weather ahead on Sunday. Will Governor Corbett do the same?

On Tuesday, Governor Corbett will emerge from his office to deliver his state budget address. Will he see much-needed sources of revenue in Pennsylvania’s future, or will this early February ritual result in an extension of economic winter for our state?

Camelot: Where King Arthur...I Mean Queen Dianne...Earns a Cool £2.1 Million

Pennsylvania Senate hearings on lottery expansion earlier this week focused on increasing state revenue for seniors' programs by expanding lottery games under public management (to include keno). This was a welcome shift from last year's proposed privatization of the lottery with the Camelot Group, a British company, and a temporary reprieve from more recent rumors about privatizing lottery management.

Small Revenue Shortfall Predicted for 2013-14 But No Need to Panic — Yet

Pennsylvania is staring at a likely revenue shortfall of more than $100 million come June when the current fiscal year draws to a close, according to the latest revenue estimates from the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO). A slow-growing economy has dampened tax and other collections during the first half of the 2013-14 fiscal year, and IFO analysts think the trend will continue in the months ahead.

Education Love Fest Starts, But Is It The Real Thing?

In the weeks leading up to the release of a proposed state budget in February, governors typically schedule photo ops to announce some new budget initiative popular with the public. This signals the administration’s priorities, keeps the good news from getting lost in the overall budget story, and builds up political capital for the budget fight ahead.

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