HARRISBURG—With a projected budget shortfall of $3.2 billion, lawmakers in Harrisburg are trying to find every dollar they can to balance the budget. Both sides claiming they have the answers, while their opponents say they are not wisely spending.
From taxes to education, funding for everything is under the microscope this budget season. Lawmakers are looking for different ways to fund the necessities while keeping the purse strings tight in what is a tight economy.
Two topics, business and education. One commonality, getting the most bang for your buck. With a projected $3.2 billion shortfall lawmakers are looking for ways to balance the budget. Senate Democrats say closing a tax loophole would help.
"If we can close the Delaware loophole, we can use a significant amount of that money which is tax reform, to make everybody in PA who pays corporate taxes, put them on the same footing," said Senator Bob Mellow, (D) Democratic Leader.
The loophole allows multi-state companies to shift income to tax havens so they don't have to pay corporate tax in PA. Senate Dems think closing that loophole could net $1.6 billion dollars over 5 years and lower the tax burden on existing business in the state.
"I think we need fair business and i think we need small business," said Senator Tina Tartaglione, (D) Philadelphia.
"It was spending money we don't have. It was making promises we can not back up with the dollars," said Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, (R) Butler County.
That promise, the Governor's proposal to expand education funding by $418 million. House Republicans say it's money we don't have. The Governor says it will be funded by economic stimulus money. But Republicans say once the stimulus funding goes away, it will require a huge tax increase on the local level.
"You have two choices, you either raise taxes or cut spending and I am on the lower spending side of the equation," said Rep. Will Tallman.
At last check, the Governor and Republicans were about $1.7 billion apart in budget negotiations. The Governor said Tuesday, he is planning another $500 million in budget cuts.
The deadline to enact a new budget is June 30.