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Budget Hearings Begin in House

This week the House Appropriations Committee began hearings with state agencies on the Governor’s Budget and the operations of those agencies.  The week started off on a somewhat bright note for all with the Independent Fiscal Office stating that the structural budget appears now to be in the $1.5 billion range, much below the $2.3 billion anticipated early this year. Wolf’s Chief of Staff Katie McGinty commented this week that too much emphasis on the component parts takes away the “focus on the bigger picture.”

(Budget Hearings, continued) Addressing Acting Revenue Secretary Eileen McNulty,   “I do know one thing – this is a gigantic tax increase, okay, a gigantic tax increase. I do believe the PIT and the sales tax is on the middle class, and the governor picked and chose where he sent the money to. I think everyone in the General Assembly has poor people living in their districts, but if the district is perceived wealthy, they don’t get tax relief. And if you have a very wealthy person living in an area that is perceived poor, they get total property tax elimination.

“I don’t believe the plan was well thought out. I think it was to get everybody’s attention – which it did – and I think an awful lot of work has to go into this.”

Other agencies before the House Appropriations Committee this week included the Departments of Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, and Environmental Protection.  The PUC, Office of Small Business Advocate, and the Office of Consumer Advocate also appeared.