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PA Budget Secretary Presents Mid-Year Budget Briefing About State’s Fiscal Status

December 14, 2016

During June, the Governor signed a $31.5 billion budget for the 2016–2017 fiscal year. As is customary, the Budget Secretary, Randy Albright, presented a mid-year budget briefing about the state’s fiscal status.

During the briefing, Secretary Albright touted some of the accomplishments that have resulted from the 2016–2017 state budget. He referenced the legislative package to address the opioid epidemic and Medicaid expansion, which reduced the uninsured rate from 14 percent to 6.4 percent.

Some of the challenges that face the commonwealth as policymakers look towards the 2017–2018 budget are:   

  • The lack of future revenue growth
  • Debt obligations
  • Increasing federal matching requirements
  • Expanding service needs that drive up human service costs

While the secretary noted that the administration and the legislature made significant steps to reduce the structural deficit, there is still an estimated $600 million shortfall. Revenue collections have been lagging since enactment, about $261 million below estimate for this time in the fiscal year.

Secretary Albright noted that before the administration asks the legislature for additional revenue sources, they “would exhaust any and all opportunities to restrain and reduce spending” and would “leave no stone unturned.” 

The Republican-controlled legislature has indicated that there is no appetite for any broad-based tax increase such as the personal income tax or the sales tax. However, when questioned, Albright did not rule out the potential for broad-based taxes to balance the 2017–2018 budget.

HAP remains committed to ensuring the state budget reflects continued investment in hospitals. This includes the support for hospitals that provide burn care, OB/NICU, and trauma services, and recognizes the essential health care that critical access hospitals provide to the most rural parts of the commonwealth.

For more information or questions, please contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice-president state legislative advocacy, or Scott Bishop, HAP’s senior vice-president legislative advocacy.

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