Capitol Building

Revenue Collections Rise as Budget Talks Heat Up

Just in time for the stretch run of the 2013 state budget season, revenue collections for May came in $35 million ahead of projections, bringing the fiscal-year-to-date total to 102 million above the forecasts.

Pennsylvania collected $2 billion last month, with the increase being largely driven by corporate tax collections, which accounted for 30 million of the surplus. Personal Income Tax collection was down, but sales tax revenues jumped after several sluggish months, coming in $1.3 million over estimates. Sales taxes remain more than $300 million behind for the year, however.

The figures were released the same day state House Republicans cleared their budget plan through the House Appropriations Committee in a party-line vote. Their $28.3 billion spending plan is slightly less than the $28.4 billion proposed by Governor Tom Corbett and does not include Medicaid expansion, an option for Pennsylvania under the Affordable Care Act, but one that Governor Corbett has staunchly opposed. House Democrats spoke out against the plan prior to the committee vote, setting the stage for the floor debate which could begin next week.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats say they have their own budget plan, totaling $28.5 billion. Minority Leader Jay Costa criticized the administration’s resistance to Medicaid expansion while talking about the Senate Democratic caucus budget priorities Monday.

Lawmakers and the governor have until June 30th if they are to meet the budget deadline for a 3rd consecutive year. Several other issues loom over the budget talks, including pension reform, transportation funding and liquor privatization. The governor wants lawmakers to pass all four major initiatives before taking their summer break.