HARRISBURG, May 1, 2012 –Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Vincent Hughes offered the following comments regarding today’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) Revenue Estimate Report, which stated that the projected shortfall will be $300 million, not $719 million as reported by the governor during his budget presentation earlier this year.

Sen. Jay Costa:

“The Independent Fiscal Office release of its independent preliminary estimate of the fiscal condition of Pennsylvania confirms what Senate Democrats have predicted since the governor made his budget presentation in February.  The governor’s estimated deficit of more than $700 million was way off target.

There now is no question that there will be far more available dollars to restore key budget lines that support job creation, education, safety net programs and investments for the future.

Funds are tight and resources must be stretched.  However, it is clear that the administration does not need to cut so deeply into social safety net programs, education and human services that impact so many.”

Sen. Vincent Hughes:

“For a second year, the governor has miscalculated the revenues. The Independent Fiscal Office has reinforced what Senate Democrats have argued for months.  There is additional funding available, by IFO estimates, of more than $800 million.

With April’s revenue collections reducing our current shortfall to below $289 million, the likelihood is that our yearend shortfall could be below $200 million, providing even more state revenue.

Instead of providing false choices – pitting seniors against students – we have the option to do so much more – restore education, protect our social safety net programs and tackle our number one priority – job creation.

The devastating cuts that the governor has proposed should be set aside and a new fiscal plan developed that is reconciled with the new revenues.  Pennsylvania can move forward if it moves away from the governor’s fuzzy budget numbers based on rhetoric not arithmetic.”


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