As the new Pennsylvania fiscal year dawned this morning, the budget to accompany it was headed toward Governor Wolf’s desk after the House concurred, by a 144-54 vote, with the Senate’s $31.6 billion spending plan. The bipartisan plan boosts early childhood, K through 12 and higher education spending, along with more dough for combating opioid addiction, with no broad-based tax increases. The Guv said he will sign it just as soon as everyone figures out just one more itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny detail – exactly where the money will come from.
One place a big chunk of the revenue shortfall could come from is a House-approved measure that would expand casino-style gambling to the internet and airports. The bill would raise as little as $200 million or as much as $270 million, depending on who you talk to. Its prospects in the Senate or on the desk of Governor Wolf are not clear. Reports are that legislators also are looking for new sins to tax or increasing levies on old sins.
Where the money won’t be coming from is commercial development of state parks. The House rejected, 123-77, a proposal for a pilot program that would have allowed the development of a commercial golf course, amusement park, water slide park, hotel, and restaurant and bar on the grounds of a state park.