On the heels of a successful re-election campaign, Democratic Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has outlined an agenda for his second term.
He said his focus will be on helping the state chip away at its structural deficit.
DePasquale’s second term preview came just days after the state’s Independent Fiscal Office projected the commonwealth is on track to come up between $500 million and $900 million short of projected revenues this budget year.
It also reported that the shortfall will continue to grow if nothing is done.
DePasquale said that dire forecast factors heavily into his plan.
“There will be disputes over those numbers,” he noted, but added that “it is clear to me from our analysis that the deficit next year will be between $1 billion and $3 billion, and that the shortfall in this current budget season is real.”
DePasquale said he plans to improve state efficiency in six key areas. These include the state’s opioid addiction-treatment programs, Child and Youth Services centers, job-retraining programs, and property taxes for seniors.
He predicted that if the commonwealth takes up all of his department’s audit recommendations, it might be possible to recover up to 30 percent of the $1.7 billion deficit projected for the next fiscal year.