HARRISBURG – State Sen. David Argall (R-29) today said Gov. Rendell’s proposal to increase state spending by $1.15 billion and impose new taxes will face close scrutiny in the Senate.
Argall serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will hold three weeks of public hearings on the proposed $29 billion 2010-2011 state budget and its proposed 4.1 percent increase in spending.
“State government must do what Pennsylvania families struggle to do day after day, week after week — live within its means,” said Argall. “I can assure you that Pennsylvania families are not increasing their spending by 4.1 percent. That’s why I worked to create the new State Cost-Cutting Commission to identify additional cost-saving measures in state government.”
The commission — made up of 10 appointees from the private and public sectors, and utilizing existing Senate staff with no additional cost to the taxpayers – will hold its first meeting on February 19.
One major concern, the senator said, is that the Governor’s budget assumes that recent hikes in federal spending will be extended for state programs. There is no guarantee that this $848 million in funding will be approved by Congress, putting the Commonwealth and taxpayers in a precarious position.
Argall said legislators will continue to carefully monitor revenue collections over the coming months. As of the end of January, state revenue collections are $374.4 million below projections for the year-to-date. The Governor is now projecting a total $525 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.
“In these trying economic times, taxpayers are looking for more than business-as-usual. They want to see a sense of urgency in our approach to containing costs, and a budget process that focuses not on what is merely wanted, but on what we can afford.”
Contact: Nick Troutman