Harrisburg – June 16th, 2014 –Senator Vincent Hughes released the following statement in response to the final revenue forecast from the Independent Fiscal Office that shows there is an estimated deficit of nearly $1.5 billion:

“It should not be surprising to anyone who is paying attention that Pennsylvania has such a large budget deficit. This administration has done a poor job managing the state’s finances and economy. Last year, the Independent Fiscal office stated clearly that Pennsylvania had a structural budget deficit – that revenues were out of balance with expenditures and this administration has taken no positive action to fix that problem. That is a major factor in why we have a revenue gap of more than $1.5 billion that must be closed by June 30th.

“I have already offered a bill that would tax natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale at a rate of 5 percent. This responsible legislation would raise more than $700 million next year to help close our revenue gap. Senate Democrats previously offered a comprehensive plan that included $1.1 billion in revenue options, include expanding Medicaid, slowing corporate tax cuts, and modernizing our state liquor store system. These are all good options that would not require any broad-based tax increases and provide funding for key services.

“One thing is clear: we cannot continue to balance the budget on the backs of middle class and working families so that the privileged few can continue to avoid paying their fair share. Irresponsible budget policies that cut aid to public school districts, reduced food stamp eligibility, refused access to affordable health care, and slashed county programs to assist the elderly, poor, and disabled have largely caused the budget problems we now face.”

Senator Vincent Hughes represents the 7th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is also Democratic Chairman of PA Senate Appropriations Committee.