HARRISBURG – House Republican Appropriations Chairman Seth Grove previewed the upcoming PA budget hearings Wednesday, stressing the importance of oversight and accountability when it comes to the budget process in Pennsylvania.
“The governor’s budget proposal was a good start to the process that, to his credit, included a variety of bipartisan initiatives,” Grove said. “But of course, the devil is always in the details. This is why we’re going to spend the next several weeks going line by line through the entire budget.”
Grove highlighted several points the Republican Caucus will dive into, including the overall cost of the budget.
“Make no mistake, this is a $45.8 billion dollar proposal
,” said Grove. (Fig. 1
). “The governor does not take into account his creation of a $931 million special fund for the state police or the $514 million in one-time federal dollars when he shares his spending number. This budget also relies on the spending from our reserves, which causes alarm for House Republicans (Fig. 2
) Saving money for a rainy day has been a major priority for the Republican Caucus
; we do not feel our current economic conditions call for spending this money.”
Agencies begin appearing before the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, March 20, starting with the Department of Education. Grove shared Republicans are prepared to get into the finer details of the budget and how agencies are spending that money
“What are you doing at your individual agency to bring the budget into balance? What program integrity issues are you working on to ensure maximum reach of our taxpayers’ dollars? What do you plan on spending the proposed increases on? These are parts of the budget we need answers from the agencies,” Grove said.
Grove also shared some concerns over the governor’s proposal regarding the 911 fee
and the elimination of the Sales and Use Tax and Gross Receipts Tax from cell phones. (Fig. 3
“The governor said in his address this will save taxpayers $124 million, but his budget materials are showing us a high of $90 million. We need to understand the real savings the governor is proposing and also the compounding impact of linking the 911 fee to inflation moving forward,” Grove added. “What is the bottom line going to be for the consumer?”
Grove concluded by sharing he expects this process should be collaborative. “We know this budget proposal adds to our structural deficit; this is not in dispute. Our No. 1 priority is to remedy this issue. Republicans and Democrats need to work together on the final product. We stand ready to work with Governor Shapiro.”
Additional Media Clips:
Chairman Seth Grove talks about the governor’s proposed spending
Chairman Seth Grove reviews the governor’s proposed 911 fee and cell phone tax changes
Chairman Seth Grove shares concerns over deficit spending and use of Rainy Day Fund
Chairman Seth Grove previews approach to budget hearings
• Fig. 1 shows why we are calling this a $45.8 billion budget
o The governor’s number doesn’t include the new PSP fund, which moves $931 million away from the General Fund and $514 million in expiring FMAP dollars.
• Fig. 2 shows the potential growth of the budget deficit
based on the governor’s growth in spending, a 4% increase, and 6% increase.
o If we don’t fix the structural deficit, even using the governor’s own modest growth of around a 2% increase in spending, the deficit will be $2.5 billion in FY 2027-28.
o A more realistic growth of 4% balloons that number to $6 billion by FY 2027-28, a 6% increase in year-over-year spending to $10 billion by FY 2027-28.
• Fig. 3 shows the governor’s projected revenue losses
from his new cell phone/911 tax initiative.
o The governor stated in his budget address that removing the Sales and Use Tax and Gross Receipts Tax on cell phone bills will save $124 million dollars.
o His budget materials reflect a maximum savings of only $90 million.
o Additionally, moving the 911 fee to $2.03 and then increasing it every year to the rate of inflation means this will go up year over year. With high inflation predicted to continue, one likely result is cell phone users paying more in taxes under the governor’s new plan, than they are now.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives