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Budget Clock Ticking; IFO Releases Encouraging Numbers

Last week the House approved its budget for FY 2013-14 (HB 1437) by a party-line vote of 108-92. This week the Senate began its formal work on the bill, while Republican legislative and Administration leaders began actual negotiations on a final product and related policy issues. 

There are still big divides to overcome among the Senate, House, and Governor’s office, on a variety of issues ranging from transportation funding, pension reform, liquor privatization, as well as state taxes and spending.

With only a week to go until the June 30 Constitutional deadline, most headlines and Capitol “beltway” discussions were more focused on non-budget issues.  Part of that is the result of general agreement a budget must get done on time, but additionally, the state Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) this week reported that the state is in a better position financially than anticipated – by about $300 million.

The IFO had projected a revenue shortfall of nearly $520 by the end of FY 2013-14. However, in the last month, the office lowered its predictions for FYs 2012-13 and 2013-14 by roughly $150 million each cycle, leaving a $220 million hole.

HB 1437 already takes some of the shortfall into account, with a bill of $28.3 billion, which is $100 million less than what Corbett has proposed in February. A copy is available online.