10,000 Friends Strongly Opposes House Action on 2017-2018 PA Budget

September 19, 2017


HB 453 would recapture six hundred million in previous years’ appropriations commitments to make PA communities healthier, greener, cleaner, more connected, and improve transportation

 Last week, the state House adopted a lesser version of the Taxpayer’s Caucus budget proposal as HB 453 on a party line vote.  Here is a link to the House roll-call vote.  10,000 Friends strongly opposes this fiscal plan as it still raids various legally-dedicated Funds to remove previously-allocated funding for specific purposes critical to making great communities for Pennsylvanians.  The House bill appears to not understand that balances identified from previous years are largely already committed, announced, and contracted to hundreds of projects in our communities.  Further, the recapture of money from specific funds, preventing their use for a legally-dedicated purpose, is not good government. 

The House-passed fund recaptures include: Multimodal Transportation Fund ($50 million), the Public Transportation Trust Fund ($50 million), Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund ($50 million), Environmental Stewardship Fund ($70 million), Historical Preservation Fund ($4 million), Industrial Sites Cleanup Fund ($10 million), PA Infrastructure Bank ($25 million), and the PA Recycling Fund ($70 million). Here is a full list of all the Special Fund “Transfers” These proposed transfers of critical money to balance this year’s budget will significantly impact essential rail service, environmental projects and parks, as well as dramatically reduce money for transit systems statewide and new community transportation investments.  This effort to avoid using transportation and environmental funds for their stated purposes amounts to a patchwork, short-lasting quick fix that will reduce services for the tax payers and needed programs for our communities.

Finally, here is a link to the latest report from the Associated Press’ Capital newsroom, “Pennsylvania’s Budget Fight gets Personal and Regional.”  According to the AP, the budget fight has become a "Feud between the Republican majority in the House and the Republican majority in the Senate."  We will continue to provide updates on the latest budget news as events unfold.

The immediate battle now is in the Senate, to ensure that the Senate does not concur in the House version of this Fiscal Code proposal.  The House will need to pass a tax code, separate from the Fiscal Code, to proceed toward resolving these issues.  Please continue to contact your Senators and House members and voice your conviction that transportation and environmental funds are to be used for their intended purpose!