Senator Yaw Supports Bipartisan Budget Proposal; Says Compromise Needed to Keep Services Operating

HARRISBURG – Stressing the need to fund important state and local services that have been impacted by the budget impasse, Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) said he supports a bipartisan budget agreement announced today by legislative leaders.

The agreement calls for the adoption of a $27.945 billion spending plan with no broad-based tax increases – a condition that Yaw said Senate Republicans insisted on during budget negotiations.  The governor had proposed a major increase in the Personal Income Tax, which Yaw strongly opposed.

The proposal uses a combination of one-time revenues and recurring revenues to produce a balanced budget for 2009-10 which maintains adequate funding for core government services and provides key investments in basic education.

“Throughout this long and difficult process, I have said that I would only support a budget if it did not include a broad base tax increase, did not spend more money than last year, and was sustainable in the years ahead,” Yaw said.  “This budget recognizes the fiscal realities we face and won’t mortgage our future through higher spending and taxes.”

Yaw said that if passed, the budget would be the first during that Rendell Administration that does not include more spending than the previous year.   The agreement is $268 million less than the final 2009-2009 budget.

“This budget is not perfect, but it represents a fiscally responsible, bipartisan agreement that will allow state and local programs to continue operating,” Yaw said.  “It also invests in education and will protect core government programs and services.”

Among the revenue sources included in the plan are a slowdown in the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, the introduction of table games at Pennsylvania’s casinos, and a 25-cent per pack increase in the cigarette tax.

In addition, $100 million is expected to be generated through increased leases in the Marcellus Shale area.

The agreement also taps the state’s Rainy Day Fund and will transfer an existing surplus in the Health Care Provider Retention Account to the General Fund.

Work will continue through the weekend to draft the legislation necessary to enact this agreement. The plan could be voted on in both the House and the Senate as early as next week.

Contact: Rita Zielonis

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