HARRISBURG – State Reps. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) and Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield/Cambria) have joined the majority of their colleagues in approving legislation that would fund the 2017-18 budget without the need for tax increases or borrowing.
House Bill 453 now awaits approval by the state Senate before it can be sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature into law.
Gabler and Sankey issued the following statement after the vote:
“Today the House put taxpayers first by voting to close out the 2017-18 budget in a way that will not require Pennsylvanians to accept higher electric bills, telephone bills or natural gas bills. In addition, House Bill 453 would erase the 2016-17 deficit without the need for borrowing.
“The key to this revenue package is the result of hard work by rank-and-file House members whose persistence exposed a disappointing side of the budget process – money they’ve already paid in state taxes that is being hoarded by government agencies.
“Over a three-year period, it is either been part of an account that has seen no recent activity or padded the reserve portion of an account at an inordinately high level.
“Our colleagues were not haphazard in examining these accounts. They used the Treasury Transparency Portal, House Appropriations Committee staff, House legal staff and the Gov. Wolf’s own budget documents as a measuring stick. They were careful to avoid accessing accounts where money was already committed.
“This plan does not propose to reduce any account to a zero balance. The authors have pledged that ‘not one job will be lost, no agency will be closed and no service will be compromised by these actions.’
“The transfers are not the sole source of revenue, but they are a key to finalizing this essential piece of the budget process and addressing our budget needs for this fiscal year and the 2016-17 fiscal year.
“House Bill 453 asks less of taxpayers than the Senate proposal and asks more of elected officials. We hope this legislation will help set the stage for a conclusion of this year’s budget process that truly puts taxpayers first.”