As House Lawmakers Work Toward Alternative Revenue Plan, Governor Warns of Consequences of Inaction

All eyes will be in the House in the coming weeks to determine whether the chamber can gain enough support to pass – and get Senate approval for – a revenue plan that will fund the $32 billion budget that became law on July 10.

Throughout the month of August, House Republicans have reportedly been working toward an alternative to H.B. 542 – a Tax Code bill that the Senate passed in late July and would impose $600 million in new tax increases on Pennsylvania residents and businesses. The PA Chamber remains staunchly opposed to this tax-heavy legislation and continues to urge chamber members and the general public to tell their House lawmakers to vote “no” should H.B. 542 come up for a vote. Last Tuesday, a faction of conservative House Republicans presented to leadership a plan that would utilize a number of special fund transfers, along with gaming expansion and liquor reforms to help balance the spending plan. Pennlive reported that it’s likely their ideas will be implemented into the final package that will be voted on by the full House.

Governor Tom Wolf has largely stayed quiet about internal legislative budget conversations as the weeks have ticked by. But in a letter sent to House leadership last week, he stated that “by Sept. 15, the Commonwealth will not have the money to pay its obligations, putting us in a much more dire financial situation,” upping the pressure for the General Assembly to quickly get him an agreed-to plan. “To be honest, we’re the only ones looking at different possibilities,” House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Allegheny, told Pennlive, adding that many requests from his caucus to meet with the administration this summer haven’t been answered. “So be it,” Reed said. “So it’s incumbent on us to get to where we can get to 102 votes, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The House is currently scheduled to return to session on Sept. 11, with the Senate’s planned return scheduled for Sept. 18.

As seen in The Sentinel, a weekly publication of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.