HARRISBURG – In an address to the General Assembly, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion 2022-23 state budget that would increase General Fund spending by $4.5 billion, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) said today.
“This governor has no qualms about spending massive amounts of taxpayer dollars because he won’t be in office when the bills come due,” Sen. Yaw said. “We must make reasonable investments in our state, which includes protecting our residents from massive tax hikes that will be necessary to fill a multi-billion-dollar budget gap in the coming years.”
The new spending includes $2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Including the expenditure of federal dollars returned to Pennsylvania during the pandemic, the governor’s budget represents a 10.9% increase in spending.
According to Senate Appropriations Committee budget projections, the governor’s plan will produce a $1.3 billion deficit for the 2023-24 fiscal year and create an even bigger bill for Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay long after the governor leaves office: a $13 billion deficit by 2026-27.
“I think the first thing we need to do is be realistic,” Sen. Yaw said. “It unduly increases expectations and I think we need to be more honest about what the real result of this proposal is – a $13 billion budget deficit in just four years.”
And while the governor claims to propose no new tax increases, his plan raises the projected revenue from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) from $300 million to $410 million. That’s roughly a 36% increase from original income projections that will be passed on to residents through increased electricity rates, Sen. Yaw said.
This, even after Wolf touted the state’s reduced carbon footprint, all without participating in this disastrous carbon tax scheme.
“Why are we involved in RGGI if we’ve already reduced our carbon footprint without being involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative? In my opinion, RGGI is probably one of the most devastating things that could ever happen to our economy,” he said. “If you use electricity in Pennsylvania, RGGI will increase the rates by upwards of 20%. That’s devastating for those who can least afford to pay higher utility bills.”
The governor’s plan also earmarks $450.2 million in new funding for the Growing Greener Conservation and Recreation Program, as well as for agriculture conservation programs, such as the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program and the existing Agriculture Conservation Excellence Grant Program.
“These programs are critical to preserving Pennsylvania’s agricultural vitality and I share the governor’s goal of better supporting this community,” Sen. Yaw said. “But this spending must not come at an expense that is too high to bear for millions of residents still struggling under the weight of the administration’s other questionable policy decisions.”
The Senate will hold a series of public hearings in the coming weeks to review the spending plan and produce a responsible budget proposal that funds essential services while shielding taxpayers from the consequences of overspending.
CONTACT: Nick Troutman, Chief of Staff, 717-787-3280